Teen rescued during human trafficking sting had been missing for two months

L to R: Timothy King, Jesse McMinn, Tabitha Banks (Photo: KCSO)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A sixteen-year-old from North Carolina who had been missing for more than two months was found during a human trafficking sting operation in Knox County.

Timothy King, 27, of Hickory, N.C., Jesse McMinn, 20, also of Hickory, N.C. and Tabitha Banks, 20, of Asheville, N.C., were arrested during the operation at Holiday Inn in Knoxville at 9143 Executive Park Drive.

Investigators found an advertisement on Backpage.com. After contacting McMinn, an undercover detective made an appointment for a “two-girl special.”

The undercover detective agreed to pay $340 for an hour. The detective was told while McMinn and Banks were “providing services,” King would serve as their security.

During the arrest, investigators found the missing teen inside King’s car, which was running in the parking lot. The teen was missing from Asheville, North Carolina and was reunited with her family.

The FBI helped conduct the investigation, which also uncovered $2,708 in cash on King. Banks claimed that some of the money was her’s. King faces charges for two counts of human trafficking, which is a felony. McMinn and Banks face charges for prostitution, a misdemeanor. Authorities say both McMinn and Banks were pregnant.

Chief Allen May with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office says the department conduct sting operations like this on a regular basis and have arrested nine adults in the last few days.

Also arrested in the sting was 20-year-old Kyra Fultz, of Hickory, N.C., who was charged with simple possession. Rian O’Quinn, 25, from Knoxville was charged with prostitution and simple possession. Kayla Inmate, 25, from Rockwood, Tenn., was charged with prostitution. A man, Anthony Vaughan, from Acworth, Ga., was charged with criminal impersonation and will be extradited to Georgia for being a fugitive from justice on a probatyion violation.

In addition, 28-year-old Samantha Stransky, of Knoxville and 29-year-old Amanda Kosis, from Detroit, were arrested on prostitution charges. Kosis is also wanted on a vehicular homicide charge in Detroit.

May says they have a good relationship with local hotels and motels, who work closely with them to help conduct stings, or alert them to potential situations.

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