Two WF Teens Allegedly Held Against Their Will - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Two WF Teens Allegedly Held Against Their Will

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Two teens from West Fargo are on their way back from North Carolina. Police say the teens were being held against their will.

Two men are in jail for holding children at a travel lodge in Wilmington, North Carolina, and forcing them to sell magazines.

Police arrested Jeremy Moots and Justin Angermeier for human trafficking of a child, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, and contributing to the delinquency and neglect of a minor.

There were at least four victims, two of them are from West Fargo. We're told the two should be home in a few days.

"You can only imagine what was being done to these girls," says Detective Sargent Greg Warren, with West Fargo Police. He is waiting for the return of a 15 year old girl, and her 16 year old sister. To hear the whole story of how they got to North Carolina.

"The people that do this are very good at what they do, they make it sound much better than what it really is, they make it sound like a heck of an adventure. And they can make some money, then they are on their own, and you don't have parents in your face. I can about image what they told them," he says.

The girls were found in a travel lodge, almost a week after their mom reported them missing.

"They were certainly run aways, but I don't think it was a sense that they just wanted to run away, and go somewhere. And they just happened upon these guys, I think there was some luring by these individuals, painting them a real pretty picture to go with them," says Warren.

He says our area is seeing cases like this again and again.

Chris Johnson at the rape and abuse crisis center says area advocacy groups are working hard for the victims.

"We're currently in the process of developing a task force that looks at human tracking, whether that be for adults or minors, or for sex trafficking, or labor trafficking. Whatever that might be, and making sure they have appropriate exits, for those who find themselves caught up in this social injustice," says Johnson.

Local law enforcement say they want to dig deeper into trafficking as well.

"Each time something like this happens, we learn from it too. It’s how these traffickers work," says Warren.

We reached out to Midwest Circulation, the magazine company the men claim to work for.

They didn't comment, directing us to the attorney on the case. He also didn't want to talk.

But, West Fargo Police tell us the men could be facing federal charges. It's still being investigated.

Original Story:

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -- Detectives with the Wilmington Police Department found at least four people who were being held at the Travel Lodge on Market Street against their will.Two sisters, 15 and 16 years of age, were found Monday at the Travel Lodge on Market Street in Wilmington. Officials said they were recently moved there from Lumberton.

Police in Fargo, North Dakota, notified the Wilmington Police Department in early August the sisters had been reported missing and could be in the area. An investigation lead detectives to the hotel.

Police said they went back to the hotel the next night, Tuesday, to arrest Jeremy Dean Moots, 22, and Justin Angermeier, 28.

According to arrest warrants, they allegedly held the girls against their will and forced them to sell magazines.

The girls were reportedly first moved to Lumberton, North Carolina. When Lumberton Law Enforcement Officers started to catch on to them, the company moved the girls to Wilmington according to Wilmington Police.

The victims were mainly selling magazines in the Jacksonville area.

Arrest warrants show the victims were paid $20 a day for eight hours of work. The warrants also said the suspects initially agreed that the girls could leave any time they wanted to and would pay for their bus tickets.

When the victims asked to leave, the suspects refused and said they had to stay because of the contract they signed. Officials said the girls told the suspects several times they wanted to go home.

"They had phones but their phones were not working, their phone chargers were broken so yeah they were cut off from communication," Sgt. Thomas Tilmon explained. "They made requests to contact their parents and for bus tickets home which were being denied."

The sisters have been placed in protective custody and their parents have been notified.

Authorities said the company had rented out several rooms in the Travel Lodge. When police went back Tuesday to arrest the suspects, they also knocked on all the doors the company had rented out.

Officials said that's how they found two more victims, 18-year-old male cousins from Knoxville, Tennessee who said they were also being held against their will.

Officials said the cousins are on their way home.

According to Linda Rawley with the Wilmington Police Department, Jeremy Dean Moots, 22, and Justin Angermeier, 28, were each charged with human trafficking of a child, involuntary servitude, second degree kidnapping, and contributing to the delinquency and neglect of a minor.

Moots and Angermeier made their first court appearance in New Hanover County Wednesday afternoon via video conference.

Moots asked for a reduced bond saying, "I'm definitely not guilty in this." Moots then went on to say, "I'll show up in court to beat it."

Prosecutors argued that both suspects were managers, though they may not have been the highest-level employees involved, and were in control of the victims.

"I wasn't in charge at all," Moots said in court. "I just ordered a ticket because the company told me to."

Moots told the judge he worked for a company called Midwest Circulation.

The judge decided to keep both Moots and Angermeier's bonds at $350,000.

Police officials believe more charges could be forthcoming. 

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