The Washington State Patrol teamed up with multiple agencies to conduct a prostitution sting operation at an undisclosed truck stop location in Lewis County. The six-hour operation, dubbed “Operation Human Freight”, kicked off on Tuesday afternoon at a high traffic truck stop location off of I-5 near the Centralia and Chehalis area, according to Lewis County officials. Police have declined to disclose the exact location because of the ongoing nature of the operation.
During the operation, ten people were arrested for suspicion of second-degree promoting prostitution, local warrants for arrest, and methamphetamine possession. Undercover agents were also able to identify five women believed to be forced prostitution or human trafficking victims. FBI personnel were on scene to provide support services for the victims. Undercover agents reportedly contacted both suspects and victims online and arranged to meet them at the truck stop location.
Authorities say that the investigation is ongoing and that more charges could follow.
Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza says that, “This successful operation to impact human trafficking in our community is an example of the great working partnerships among law enforcement in our area. This operation allowed us the ability to reach out and offer support and resources to victims, and hold those who facilitate these crimes accountable for their actions.”
Multiple agencies participated in Operation Human Freight, including the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, the Centralia Police Department, the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team, and the Lakewood Police Department. This is the second undercover prostitution sting to be conducted at Washington State truck stops in recent weeks. On February 28, eleven people were arrested during a four hour operation at an undisclosed truck stop location in Pierce County.