Law enforcement officials in Vermont rescued three women who were padlocked inside an apartment. Officials believe the women were being held against their will in a human trafficking scheme.
Members of the Vermont State Police, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations aircrew teamed up to raid a suspected human trafficking stash house on October 22, according to a statement from CBP officials this week. The law enforcement team executed two search warrants in Rutland, Vermont, leading to the discovery of drug and human trafficking activity.
“Prior to executing the search warrant at 146 Maple St., law enforcement had received indicators that women might be confined at that location against their will,” Vermont State Police officials said in a written statement. “During the execution of the warrant at the 146 Maple St. location, VSP troopers and HSI special agents located evidence indicating potential human trafficking, including a padlocked apartment door and multiple chain-link storage areas.”
Officials said they found three women behind the padlocked door of the apartment being utilized as a stash house. Medical teams assessed the three human trafficking victims and found them to be in good health. A human trafficking specialist arrived and began working with the women to investigate the crime.
A CBP Air and Marine Operations aircrew provided aerial surveillance during the operation, officials stated.
“The collaboration between CBP, HSI, and our law enforcement partners provided for a successful rescue of women being held against their will,” said Jeremiah Rogers, Acting Director, Manassas Air Branch. “Our aircrews continuously partner with our federal and local law enforcement partners to provide an integral asset from the air.”
The drug and human trafficking interdiction and investigation were carried out by Homeland Security Investigations, The Center for Countering Human Trafficking, Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit, HSI Boston Field Office Special Response Team, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Narcotics Investigation Unit, and the uniformed troopers from the Field Force Division, Rutland City Police Department, and Rutland County Sheriff’s Office.
Police arrested one person at the scene. Officials said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Officials did not say what, if any, drugs were found in the investigation.