MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas — Seventeen people were arrested during a human trafficking sting by the McLennan County Sheriff's Office, deputies announced Wednesday during a news conference.
The sting happened between Sept. 26 to Oct. 1.
Out of those arrests, a victim of human trafficking was identified and got help from Unbound, a Waco nonprofit that helps human trafficking victims.
McLennan County law enforcement says they wouldn't be able to do their job without them.
"It's a very strong working relationship it has been since the beginning," Detective Joseph Scaramucci, the head of the human trafficking unit said. "We're really fortunate to have such a strong organization here that that is able to help the victims. as law enforcement. We're not equipped for that right. We're here to hold people criminally accountable. So being able to provide services at that moment with them in the field is huge."
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara says McLennan County has built up a reputation for getting traffickers off the streets.
"Hopefully word is getting out McLennan County's bad place to do this as a message we want to get out there," McNamara said.
Regarding the arrests, MCSO said:
- Ten people were arrested for trying to buy sex; three of them tried to buy sex from a minor
- One person was arrested for human trafficking
- Five cases were started regarding distribution of child pornography
Deputies continued to say that out of the five cases regarding the distribution of child pornography, two of them involved Leonard Newman of Mart, a man who was accused of multiple sex crimes against children back in September. He remains in the McLennan County Jail for continuous trafficking of persons.
Four victims of human trafficking were identified at the time of Newman's arrest on Sept. 3, deputies say.