12 women found in Columbus home possible human trafficking victims

Twelve women are now receiving help and being questioned after officers say they were found inside an east Columbus home during a warrant search. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Twelve women are now receiving help and being questioned after officers say they were found inside an east Columbus home during a warrant search.

Whitehall Police Narcotics Unit say they were executing a warrant at a home on Ruby Avenue Thursday with the help of Columbus Police when they discovered 18 people inside. Twelve of the women were interviewed and identified as possible trafficking victims. The women range in age from 20 to 40 years old.

Investigators say while drug trafficking was the focus of their warrant, it was known that human trafficking was taking place at the home.

Police said there were many people going in and out of the home, which could be one indication of trafficking problems.

"It is many other things that are pretty clear indications," said Sgt. John Grebb with Whitehall Police, "and when you have 8 women - or 12 women in that room, you know in the home it is kind of pretty obvious at that point."

Three people in the home were arrested. David Dehus II, Samantha Miller, and Dustin Speakman, are now facing charges of felony trafficking in heroin and additional charges are pending.

"This is another example of the connection between narcotics and human trafficking," Whitehall Police Chief Mike Crispen said in a statement. "Narcotis and the threats of violence are often used to control victims, and this collaboration between agencies potentially helped rescue 12 women from a very bad situation."

When ABC6/FOX28 arrived at the scene, Dehus approached and said he wanted to tell his side of the situation.

"I'm not a pimp, I help the girls get off the street," said David Dehus who was charged, "we also help a few of them get in drug rehab. It is not what they are saying."

He said he denies police charges and does not traffic drugs.

The investigation is continuing, and this story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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