DETROIT, MI (WXYZ) — Federal agents took down an alleged sex trafficking operation on Detroit’s east side, where they say the man in charge kept multiple women in his basement, where they were raped, beaten, and given drugs to have sex with paying customers.
“It just seems really crazy to me because our street seems so quiet,” said neighbor Courtney McLaughlin. “It's crazy to know that people were there and nobody had any idea.”
On Thursday, police surrounded the home, arresting Quiyemabi Summerlin, who’s now facing charges for sex trafficking using force, fraud and coercion, along with firearm and drug charges.
“I was very shocked, very," said neighbor Kim Ellis. "I didn’t think nothing happened like this in this neighborhood.”
Some neighbors say they were suspicious of some activity at the home, but didn't know the extent of what was going on.
According to a federal court affidavit, the investigation started in 2019 when the first victim reported a rape to Detroit Police. From there, police learned of at least 9 other victims, including potential minors. One victim had called the National Human Trafficking Hotline and another was found during a separate undercover operation. That victim told agents Summerlin was a “violent pimp,” saying he kept all her money, fed her drugs and locked her in the basement.
“It hurts me because I have grandkids," Ellis said. "When they said ladies was over there, minors, it just hurt me. It hurt me.”
Since July, FBI agents were able to find 130 commercial sex advertisements online linked to Summerlin. During Thursday’s search warrant, officers found two more women in the basement along with cocaine, fentanyl, and a loaded shotgun in the front room.
“I'm just thinking about the parents, just thinking about the girls parents and stuff, and the girls,” Ellis said.
The FBI says they believe there may be more victims. They are asking anyone with information is asked to call 313-965-2323.
The case is being investigated by the Southeast Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crimes Task Force.