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Prostitution sting results in child sex trafficking arrests

 

CUYLER, INDIA TY`KEYAH NAJEE

WOODARD, DONNELL SALETHIAN

Lexington, SC (December 7, 2017) – Chief Terrence Green would like to notify the Town of the Lexington community that the Lexington Police Department has arrested  India Tykeyeh Cuyler, age 23, and Donnell Salethian Woodard, age 29, both from Columbia, South Carolina, during a prostitution investigation.

On November 21, 2017, officers from the Lexington Police Department, along with agents from the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team task force conducted a prostitution sting at a local hotel.  Undercover officers posing as “Johns” answered ads on both backpage.com as well as craigslist.com.  Undercover ads were also posted posing as prostitutes.

At approximately 8:00 p.m., a female, later identified as a 16-year-old juvenile, came to the hotel room in order to participate in prostitution.  She was immediately identified as a victim and later taken into emergency protective custody after medical treatment.  During the investigation, it was determined she had been coerced into prostitution by India Cuyler and Donnell Woodard who had transported her to the hotel.  Both subjects were arrested in the parking lot while they were waiting on the minor victim.

India Cuyler and Donnell Woodard have both been charged with Sex Trafficking of a Minor.  Cuyler was additionally charged with Driving Under Suspension.  Woodard was also charged with Simple Possession of Marijuana and was wanted by Probation, Pardon and Parole for probation violations.  Both are currently still being held without bond at the Lexington County Detention Center.

The juvenile further revealed to investigators that she had been staying with India Cuyler and Donnell Woodard at a hotel in West Columbia and that another 16-year-old juvenile female was also being used for prostitution.  The West Columbia Police Department was notified and officers were able to make contact with the second juvenile victim.  She provided a similar story as the initial victim concerning the coercion into prostitution by India Cuyler and Donnell Woodard.  The investigation by the West Columbia Police Department led to additional charges of three counts of Sex Trafficking of a Minor.

Investigators from both agencies are working to identify any more potential victims.  This is an open and ongoing investigation and additional charges could be forthcoming.

Chief Terrence Green would like to thank the West Columbia Police Department and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance in this case.

According to Chief Green, “Human Trafficking isn’t just a problem in large cities or tourist hot spots.  These cases are proof that Human Trafficking, whether sexual or forced labor, can be found in all communities big or small.  The arrest of these subjects and the ‘rescue’ of this juvenile is a direct result of our investigators becoming more educated on the scope of the problem and how to address it.  Citizens should have an open dialog on Human Trafficking and not let these crimes be ones that are whispered about and swept under the rug due to their nature.”

During the course of prostitution investigation eleven arrests were made, including India Cuyler and Donnell Woodard, resulting in the following charges:

 

  • 2 counts of Sex Trafficking of a Minor
  • 5 counts of Prostitution
  • 2 counts of Soliciting Prostitution
  • 2 counts of Assisting/Promoting Prostitution
  • 1 count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine
  • 1 count of Possession of Crack Cocaine
  • 2 counts of Simple Possession of Marijuana
  • 2 counts of Drug Paraphernalia
  • 2 counts of Driving Under Suspension

 

If anyone has any information on these crimes or of any other underage girls being used in prostitution they are urged to contact the Lexington Police Department at 803-359-6260, Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME SC or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

The public can also text or email a tip to Crimestoppers at www.midlandscrimestoppers.com/.  Tips that lead to the arrest of suspects, as well as the recovery of stolen property and drugs are eligible for cash rewards of up to $1,000, which are paid to tipsters on an anonymous basis.

Additional information on Human Trafficking can be found at https://polarisproject.org/ or https://sharedhope.org/.