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State Police arrest five in Anti-Human Trafficking Operation

EFFINGHAM – The Illinois State Police announced the arrest of 5 individuals from an anti-trafficking operation based out of Effingham.

The ISP Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Trafficking Enforcement Bureau provided details on the arrests on Friday afternoon, stating that the focus was on individuals who had been seeking to “engage in commercial acts.”

Among the arrests were Scott A. Grote, 38, of Centralia, who has been charged with solicitation of a sexual act.

Also arrested were Daniel A. Bennett, 38, of Bethany, who is facing several charges, including indecent solicitation of a child, traveling to meet a child and solicitation to meet a child.

Justin P. Covey, 32, of Irvine, KY;  David L. Hackett, 71, of Tuscola; and Thad D. White, 50, of Cowden were also arrested and each charged with solicitation of sexual act.

According to a press release, the operation was part of a multifaceted approach by the Illinois State Police at stopping human trafficking in Illinois. Other participating agencies included the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, ISP DCI Zone 6 and 8, ISP SWAT, ISP Intelligence Support Unit, ISP Troop 9, Central Illinois Enforcement Group, Effingham Police Department, Christian County Sheriff’s Department and Homeland Security Investigations.

The Effingham County State Attorney’s Office also provided support.

Anyone who suspects human trafficking should contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text *233733.  For more information visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.  You can also email ISP.Crime.Tips@illinois.gov.