4 arrested in Spokane County's first reported human trafficking case

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has arrested four people in the first reported case of human trafficking in Spokane County.

Four people were arrested during a SWAT raid Wednesday at a home on East Nora. One victim came forward, telling investigators she's been held captive for more than a year and forced to perform sexual acts.

The victim, who we will not identify because she is the victim of sexual abuse, told detectives the people who were holding her captive sold her for sex. She told investigators she was taken to various hotels, put in a room and told what sex acts to perform.

She said the arrangements were made through online ads, and four people typically drove her to the hotels and gave her instructions on what to do.

Police said those four people - Christopher Foster, Shannell Haddon, Lawrence Johnson and Dina Tellez - were arrested Wednesday. Johnson is charged with first-degree kidnapping. The other three are all scheduled to be in court Thursday afternoon on charges of first-degree trafficking.

According to court documents filed in Johnson's case, the victim told investigators "she was forced to take drugs, mainly to smoke meth. She said that she has been forced to engage in sex with the men she named as her captors as well as their friends, sometimes at gunpoint."

The victim said she was beaten up and intimidated and "knows that if she leaves, she would 'end up dead.'" She added she believes other young girls are being held against their will.

The victim called a friend early Tuesday morning and said she had run away from a house on First and Haven because she was afraid. She made it to her friend's house and told her about her life in captivity.

The woman described a home in Spokane Valley where she said she'd been held. Detectives found the home near the intersection of Pines and Nora. The victim agreed to accompany detectives to the area, and confirmed that was the home.

The victim told detectives she saw four or five young girls sitting on a bed in the basement of that home four days ago. She said there "was a dead bolt lock on the door at the top of the basement stairs."

When detectives served a search warrant on the home this week, they found the bed in the basement. They also found a "large amount of stolen property strewn about the house, including tools and laptop computers."

Detectives also observed "a large amount of foot traffic and vehicle traffic ... while the house was being watched for 2-3 hours prior to the search warrant being served." Detectives also saw "several cars leave, some of which contained young females."

Detectives are now trying to determine whether there are additional victims, and the investigation is ongoing.