Man arrested for human trafficking ring, 2 women freed

A Wilmington man is under arrest in connection with a human trafficking ring that authorities say took place at hotels around Delaware.

Friday, Delaware State Police detectives "received information that Marcus P. Smith, 32, was running a prostitution ring out of a Rehoboth area motel. Detectives and Special Agents with Homeland Security began conducting surveillance on the hotel as well as communicating directly with the phone number associated with the prostitution advertisements listed on" a website.

Saturday, troopers and task force members conducted a traffic stop on Smith, after watching him and two women leave the hotel. Smith was taken into custody without incident.

Authorities say he had more than $1,400 in suspected prostitution proceeds. He and the two female victims, as well as Smith's six-month-old daughter, were taken to the police station.

Investigators say Smith spent the past several months traveling to various Delaware hotels "and used coercion, verbal abuse and the withholding of heroin to control the behavior of the victims." He posted online ads and "negotiated with potential clients and set all prices. All proceeds from prostitution activities went back to Smith and the female victims involved were provided with heroin, along with basic items such as food and clothing."

Smith is charged with two counts of human trafficking-sexual servitude and endangering the welfare of a child.

The two women have a temporary home, thanks to the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit, and the infant was eventually turned over to a relative.

Anyone with information on Marcus Smith is asked to call Detective J. Rowley at 302-752-3801 or Troop 4 Major Crimes Unit at 302-856-5850.