8 arrested in Tennessee human trafficking sting allegedly sought sex acts from minors

Men allegedly sought commercial sex acts from minors in Sevier County

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A two-day undercover human trafficking sting in Tennessee led to the arrests of eight men who allegedly sought to illicit sex from minors, investigators said Monday.

The operation began Thursday as an effort to address human trafficking in East Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said.

21 ARRESTED IN UTAH HUMAN TRAFFICKING STING, SOME VICTIMS TRAFFICKED THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

Investigators put up several decoy advertisements on websites with known links to prostitution and commercial sex cases to identify individuals seeking to engage in sex acts with minors, the agency said.

Carl Joseph Cantrell, 33, of Dandridge, Tenn., Eric Burse Griffith, 40, of Robbins, Tenn., and Benjamin Jason Holt, 44, of Newport, Tenn., were arrested in connection to a human trafficking operations, authorities said.

Carl Joseph Cantrell, 33, of Dandridge, Tenn., Eric Burse Griffith, 40, of Robbins, Tenn., and Benjamin Jason Holt, 44, of Newport, Tenn., were arrested in connection to a human trafficking operations, authorities said. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) )

The decoy ads attracted eight men, all of whom were arrested and booked into the Sevier County Jail.

Denis Tyulkin, 45, of Ravenna, Ohio and Tyler Ryan Arrington, 29, of Lebanon, Va., were arrested in connection to a human trafficking operation, authorities said.

Denis Tyulkin, 45, of Ravenna, Ohio and Tyler Ryan Arrington, 29, of Lebanon, Va., were arrested in connection to a human trafficking operation, authorities said. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) )

TBI identified the men as Carl Joseph Cantrell, 33, of Dandridge, Tenn.; Eric Burse Griffith, 40, of Robbins, Tenn.; Benjamin Jason Holt, 44, of Newport, Tenn.; Denis Tyulkin, 45, of Ravenna, Ohio; Tyler Ryan Arrington, 29, of Lebanon, Va.; Raul Pedro, 27, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Kevin Leroy Baer, 66, of Westminster, Md.; and Ivan Kale Freeman, 30, of Knoxville, Tenn.

Raul Pedro, 27, of Knoxville, Tenn., Kevin Leroy Baer, 66, of Westminster, Md., and Ivan Kale Freeman, 30, of Knoxville, Tenn., were arrested in connection to a human trafficking operations, authorities said.

Raul Pedro, 27, of Knoxville, Tenn., Kevin Leroy Baer, 66, of Westminster, Md., and Ivan Kale Freeman, 30, of Knoxville, Tenn., were arrested in connection to a human trafficking operations, authorities said. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) )

All eight men face one count of solicitation of a minor. Griffith faces an additional count of soliciting exploitation of a minor.

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The undercover operations involved multiple law enforcement agencies including the TBI Human Trafficking Unit, the Sevierville Police Department, the Pigeon Forge Police Department, the Gatlinburg Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit, and the office of 4th Judicial District Attorney General James Dunn.