Mississippi News

Two men sentenced after undercover operations

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch Wednesday, April 5 announced the sentencing of two individuals who were identified, investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office for promoting prostitution and child exploitation. 

“My office does not simply investigate and prosecute cases, we’re dedicated to finding and removing predators from the streets before they have the opportunity to do more harm,” Fitch said. “But, we cannot do it alone. If you suspect someone is being trafficked or exploited, please contact my office. Your tip could be the key in protecting our most vulnerable citizens and serving justice to victims.”

On March 20, Kendall Johnson of Jackson was sentenced by Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd to ten years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) with four years to serve followed by five years of post-release supervision for one count of Promoting Prostitution. He will also be required to pay a $1,000 assessment to the Victims of Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation Fund, established by the Legislature and managed by the Attorney General’s office to fund shelters and other victim services. Johnson’s arrest was the result of an undercover operation initiated by Attorney General Fitch’s Human Trafficking investigative unit.

On March 27, Ezekiel Ely of Vancleave was sentenced by Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence P. Bourgeois, Jr. to twenty years in the custody of the MDOC with four years to serve followed by five years of post-release supervision for one count of Child Exploitation. Additionally, upon release, Ely must register as a sex offender. This arrest was the result of Attorney General Fitch’s “Operation Bad Santa,” a multi-jurisdiction undercover investigation, led by the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, into individuals seeking children online to meet for sexually explicit conduct.

If you have information about a child being sexually exploited online, please report it to 1-800-843-5678. The hotline is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and tips are reported to the Attorney General’s Office. You can also make a report online at www.cybertipline.org.Tips related to human trafficking can also be reported to investigations@ago.ms.gov.  

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