DETROIT (WJBK) - It's been more than a year since the feds raided a Detroit motel that they say was a haven for sex trafficking and drugs. Now authorities have increased the reward for the alleged ringleader.
Federal officials increased the reward for Darrick Bell to $16,000 for information leading to his arrest. Bell is accused of dealing drugs, pimping out women and keeping them high on heroin while forcing them into the sex trade against their will.
Authorities claim that Bell, aka 'Tone', is the center of a major human trafficking ring that was busted at the Victory Inn in January 2017.
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When the bust came down at the Victory Inn in January, authorities say Sled traveled to Florida and elsewhere. Bell, a convicted killer, is wanted in the trafficking ring and has been on the run for a year.
Jared Murphey is Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations and says the reward for information leading to Bell's capture is now up to $16,000. There's also a new billboard on eastbound I-94 near the old Victory Inn that invites him to call and turn himself in.
"Darrick Bell is a bad human being. He's a convicted murderer to begin with. Our investigation involves the forced prostitution of some 20 victims that he forced into prostitution, forced into heroin addiction," Murphey said. "The group has been quite busy following up on a number of leads. Unfortunately he remains at large so we haven't been terribly successful so we're engaging the public and hoping that someone will call in and do the right thing."
The right thing, Murphey says, is to call Crimestoppers. You can do it for the money, the community, or, most importantly, the victims. Investigators say they went through hell at his hands.
"Our number one target remains at large and that causes us concern so we're not going to rest until he's in custody and hopefully that happens sooner than later," Murphey said. "There's a large reward waiting for it - you're doing right by your community and maybe the $16,000 can change your life."
Authorities say that Bell is considered armed and dangerous and you shouldn't approach him. Instead, call Crimestoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. You can remain anonymous and still collect the reward.