9 rescued, 4 arrested in human trafficking sting near Sea-Tac Airport

Homeland Security agents rescued nine victims of a sex trafficking operation near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport early February.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative armed of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, identified several commercial sex trafficking victims and suspects through an undercover operation with the King County Sheriff’s Office, City of SeaTac, Seattle Police and Bellevue Police.

"Human trafficking continues to have broad impacts across this region. Drugs, violence, and the continued victimization of minors are its heinous byproducts," said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer. "HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement and non-governmental organizations to dismantle these trafficking organizations and ensure the victims have access to the services they are entitled to receive."

The operation was conducted near Sea-Tac Airport the week of Feb. 6, and authorities identified nine victims, one of whom was a minor. Agents and officers connected the victims to assistance programs.

Authorities then identified four suspects and arrested each separately under state charges, including:

  • A registered sex offender and gang member with a firearm
  • A man in violation of a no-contact order
  • A prostitution trafficker
  • A felon with an outstanding robbery warrant

RELATED: Tacoma PD: 2 injured, 1 arrested after RV owner takes woman's phone, attacks her with machete

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android. And sign up for BREAKING NEWS emails delivered straight to your inbox.

Anyone with information on suspected human trafficking is urged to call HIS’s tip line at (866) 347-2423, or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.