Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A 29-year-old man is behind bars in Augusta, charged with trafficking a 17-year-old as a sex slave. It all started with a routine traffic stop.
Johnathon Kelly was arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday in Taliaferro County.
"This is something that's been going on with her since age 12, and she's actually been transported to four states," said Pat Morgan with the GBI.
GBI agents say Kelly was leaving the Augusta area and heading back to Atlanta when they arrested him.
"You know, Augusta's a big city, and unfortunately, things like this do go on in this area," Morgan said.
The arrest started with a simple traffic stop on Interstate 20, Trooper Will Grier was the one who spotted him first.
"It was real heavy traffic and he was just weaving in and out of traffic," he said.
Grier ended up pulling Kelly over for speeding, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
"Just knew things weren't adding up to what they should be. His story and her story just weren't gee-hawing," he said.
When Grier pulled up Kelly's information, he saw Kelly had warrants out for his arrest and his passenger was a minor.
"She was very scared, she was actually asleep when I approached the vehicle, she almost seemed like she was drugged to the point," Grier said.
The trooper called for backup from Greene County deputies.
"One of the deputies had been to a human trafficking class put on by the GBI," Grier said.
That recent training helped connect the dots -- dots that led to a very disturbing story.
"Children who may not be in the best circumstances, get caught up in things that they just have no control over," Morgan said.
"It's a sick feeling," Grier said. "I've got a big family, four sisters, and I sure wouldn't want any of that to happen to any of them and sure glad we could get him off the streets.
Since the arrest, the GBI has learned the girl is originally from Alabama and ran away from home when she was 12. She is currently in DFCS custody.
The GBI and FBI are both investigating since they believe Kelly sold the girl for sexual purposes in four different states.
As for Kelly, along with one count of trafficking persons for sexual servitude, he is also facing charges for driving while intoxicated, possession of marijuana and speeding.