5 arrests made in NELA, west Mississippi human trafficking case

(WECT)
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 3:05 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2022 at 3:27 PM CST
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VIDALIA, La. (KNOE) - UPDATE: Further investigation has revealed that the sex trafficking began fall of 2021 when a juvenile victim was introduced to one of the suspects by a close family member, CPSO says.

When said juvenile was introduced to this suspect, CPSO says two juveniles were supplied with narcotics then were subjected to sexual activity at different locations. One of the locations is the victim’s home in Vidalia where they were in custody of a family member.

The investigation has found this sex trafficking case to involve a network of individuals who have been using and selling narcotics while also using adult and juvenile female victims as a form of payment or trade, CPSO says.

“Louisiana law defines such activity as Human Trafficking when a subject knowingly benefits from that activity,” CPSO says. “Two of the additional subjects are both currently incarcerated after being convicted on charges through a Vidalia Police Department investigation, which involved contributing to the endangerment of juveniles and one remains wanted.

The following people have been arrested on the listed charges. This is not everyone arrested, only the ones in the most recent update.

For the original story, go here. For the previous update of this story, read below the list of suspects and the charges they were arrested on.

  • George A. Rice, 48, of Vidalia
    • Arrested on charges of principal to human trafficking, principal to cruelty to juveniles, principal to attempted sexual battery
  • Jerry W. Brownell, 42, of Vidalia
    • Arrested on charges of principal to human trafficking, principal to cruelty to juveniles, principal to attempted sexual battery
  • Jeanette Ratcliff, 70, of Vidalia
    • Arrested on charges of principal to human trafficking, principal to cruelty to juveniles, principal to attempted sexual battery

Previous update:

On Oct. 24, 2022, the Concordia Parish Cyber Crime Unit began an investigation into reports of human trafficking, which KNOE previously reported on.

Since the first arrest of Quentin M. Smith, 45, of Vidalia -- who is charged with human trafficking, second-degree rape, cruelty to juveniles, and attempted sexual battery -- CPSO has continued their investigation and have now arrested a second suspect, Eddie L. Holloway, 38, of Ridgecrest.

The original investigation showed that juveniles were being given narcotic substances such as methamphetamine and fentanyl and were being transported to locations in Concordia Parish and Adams County, where CPSO says adult subjects would engage in sexual activity with the unconscious victims.

The initial investigation lead to the arrest of Smith. Now, CPSO says Holloway has become a second suspect.

Holloway allegedly participated in transporting narcotics, as well as victims, to the locations. He has been charged with principal to human trafficking, principal to second-degree rape, and two counts of principal to cruelty to juveniles.

CPSO says additional victims and suspects have been identified, which will lead to more arrests.

This is an ongoing investigation.