Ohio trio accused of human trafficking in York County
Two Ohio brothers and one's girlfriend are accused of human trafficking and prostitution in York County after being arrested Friday at a Fairview Township motel.
Northern York County Regional Police said the woman they believe was forced into prostitution by the trio appears to be of diminished mental capacity. She told them she had to turn over all the money she made, charging documents state.
The prostitution sting was part of a multi-jurisdictional detail organized by the FBI, the primary objective of which is to uncover human trafficking, according to Northern Regional Lt. David Lash.
"Especially the trafficking of juveniles," he said.
The woman police believe was trafficked was turned over to federal victim-witness coordinators, he said.
The foursome had arrived in Fairview Township the same day they were arrested, Lash confirmed.
"We were lucky to intervene early," he said, adding it's not unusual for officers to determine, or at least suspect, that some prostitutes are being forced into the life.
"Usually we have about one every detail where we have suspicions of human trafficking," Lash said. "Sometimes we can't prove it enough to bring charges."
'Involuntary servitude': Police filed charges of trafficking of individuals, involuntary servitude, promoting prostitution and conspiracy to traffic individuals against Brett Alexander, 55; Gary Alexander, 62; and Sharon Wyatt, 43.
All three are from Zanesville, Ohio, according to charging documents.
All four charges against Brett Alexander are felonies, while Gary Alexander and Wyatt each face three felonies and a misdemeanor.
Using an undercover state police trooper, Northern Regional officers set up a meeting Friday night with a woman who appeared in an online prostitution advertisement on Backpage.com, charging documents state.
After the trooper made contact with the woman about 5:45 p.m., she asked him if he was a member of law enforcement and then told him she was staying at 300 Commerce Drive, according to documents. That's the address of the Scottish Inn location in Fairview Township.
Prices in code: At that point, the woman also laid out her prices: "150 roses for an hour, 125 roses for (a) half hour and 75 roses for (a) short stay,” documents state.
About an hour after making contact with the woman, the undercover trooper went to her motel room. She accepted a $100 payment, at which point she was arrested, documents state.
Trio found in next room: The woman told police she was at the motel with the occupants of an adjacent room, where officers found and arrested the Alexander brothers and Wyatt, documents state.
During police interviews, Gary Alexander said the four had come from Ohio to York County to make “a little extra money” through prostitution, documents state.
Gary Alexander told police that Wyatt and the woman who was contacted by the trooper both live with him in Ohio and that they prostitute themselves for money to help pay bills, according to charging documents.
When questioned by police, the woman said she did not want to participate in the prostitution scheme but was afraid Gary Alexander would kick her out of his house if she didn’t, documents state.
'Diminished' capacity: The woman “appeared to be of diminished mental capacity (and) was extremely reserved during the interview,” a Northern Regional officer wrote in charging documents.
The woman said that Wyatt was responsible for posting the online advertisement and photos that the undercover trooper responded to and that she gave Wyatt $150 she had received from an earlier rendezvous on Friday, documents state.
Gary Alexander told police Wyatt split that money between herself and Brett Alexander, documents state.
Wyatt admitted to posting her own online prostitution ads but denied creating the ad the trooper responded to, documents state.
Wyatt said she is Gary Alexander's girlfriend but that he does not approve of her engaging in prostitution, according to charging documents.
After telling police she and the woman engaged in prostitution together, Wyatt said they listened to each other’s meetings using cellphones to make sure neither was being harmed, according to charging documents.
Gary Alexander, Brett Alexander and Wyatt remain in York County Prison on $250,000 bail each.