HIGH SCHOOL BROTHERS CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Tuesday, May 25, 2010— Two south suburban teenagers are being held in the Cook County Jail on charges that they forced teenage girls to have sex with strangers, while at least one of the girls was beaten and the twin brothers collected all of the cash proceeds, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Tuesday.
Myrelle Lockett, 17, and Tyrelle Lockett, 17, of the 14800 block of Irving Street in Dolton, are each charged with trafficking in persons for forced labor or services, involuntary sexual servitude of a minor and involuntary servitude, all felonies. Tyrelle Lockett was arrested late Friday outside a south suburban hotel where undercover vice officers had arranged to meet one of their teenage victims. Myrelle Lockett was arrested after a follow-up investigation linked him to human trafficking of teen girls, as well.
Monday, bond was set at $100,000 for both Lockett brothers and they remain in a medium-security division of the Cook County Jail.
The investigation began Friday when sheriff’s detectives responded to an ad on Backpage, a website similar to craigslist for selling merchandise and seeking services. The ad promised sex for cash and provided a picture of a girl who turned out to be one of the teenage victims of the Locketts. Through emails, the officers arranged to meet the girl at a hotel in the 17300 block of South Oak Avenue in Lansing.
When undercover officers arrived, they saw Tyrelle Lockett standing in front of the hotel with the teenage victim. When the officer went into the designated hotel room and met the girl, there were obvious and visible signs she had been a victim of repeated acts of violence. After an agreement was reached to exchange sex for cash, the officer took the girl into custody. Nearby officers arrested Tyrelle Lockett. He was found in possession of nearly all of the girl’s personal items and investigators learned he refused to allow her to access any of it unless she performed the acts he demanded.
A weekend investigation into Tyrelle Lockett’s activities led to the arrest of his brother, Myrelle Lockett. At that time, officers were also able to take custody of another teenage girl who was being trafficked by Myrelle Lockett.
Through interviews and tracking of the Lockett brothers’ online and phone activity, investigators were able to determine they had been trafficking teenage girls through various hotels throughout the south suburbs. Ads they posted for the girls included rates as high as $300 for an hour, though investigators learned the victims got either none of the money or were given a portion by the Locketts.
The Locketts told investigators they attend separate alternative high schools in the south suburbs. They indicated they met at least one of their female victims while attending an alternative sentencing program on unrelated offenses.
The investigation remains ongoing and it is not yet known whether the Lockett brothers trafficked any of their female schoolmates.
The female victims have been referred for services with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department of Women’s Justice Services, which provides counseling, links to assistance and other rehabilitative services for at-risk women.
The Lockett brothers are set to appear in court again on June 14.