Published On: Sat, Sep 23rd, 2017

Ohio: Akron couple, Darren Townsend and Pearl Coffey indicted on human trafficking charges

An Akron couple was indicted Friday on several human trafficking charges, authorities said.

Darren Townsend, 37, and Pearl Coffey, 34, are charged with multiple counts of compelling prostitution, trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution and corrupting another with drugs, according to the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office.

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The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office worked on the case with the help of the Independence Police Department and the Cuyahoga County Regional Human Trafficking Force.

“Trafficking in persons” first became a chargeable offense in Ohio in 2011. Since then, there have been fewer than two dozen such trials in the state, the prosecutor’s office said. Before that time, most human trafficking cases in Ohio were handled by federal authorities.

Coffey is also charged with possession of marijuana.

The couple preyed on women and girls and used them to have sex with men at several locations, including a home, said James Pollack, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

Pollack said Townsend was already in the county jail on unrelated charges. Coffey was arrested about a week ago, he said.

Townsend and Coffey are both scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Townsend made headlines in 2014 when he fled from police “leading officers on two high-speed chases in one night, including one in which he escaped by driving the wrong way on Interstate 77” that story stated.

He faced “a third-degree felony charge of failing to register his address as a sex offender and is facing felony charges that accuse him of fleeing from police in July 2013.”

At that time of the arrest: “Court records and arrest documents show that Townsend was accused of running from police six times since 1999. He was released from prison on June 6 after spending more than three years there on his most recent conviction for leading police on a chase.

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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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