Multiple agencies arrested and cited 42 people in Memphis during Operation Someone Like Me.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County District Attorney, and other law enforcement officers teamed up to combat human trafficking, particularly of underage girls, in Shelby County.
"We're committed to doing anything possible to prevent these crimes," TBI director Mark Gwyn said. "The message is that no one is above the law. Also the message is that we are out here looking. So when you go online and you think you are texting and chatting with an underage innocent female you may not be and this is a warning."
Gwyn said the buyers were among all types of professions.
"The buyers ran the gamete. It included a medical professional, an engineer, a law student, and a tow truck driver," Gwyn said. "The work of our agents' intelligent analyst and law enforcement partners should send a strong message that we won't stand for these types of crime in Memphis or our state."
Among the arrests was Memphis Area Transit Authority CEO Ron Garrison, according to TBI Director Mark Gwyn. Garrison has since resigned from his post as CEO.
"The number of men who responded to our ad this week was staggering," TBI Deputy Director Jason Locke said. "The total number of unique contacts was 522 individuals of those approximately 475 different men contacted us in the three days wanting to purchase illicit sex."
TBI spokesperson Josh DeVine said Garrison was charged with a misdemeanor offense. He is accused of soliciting sex from a person whom he believed to be an adult.