Reward offered to find Victory Inn fugitives
Detroit — A $1,000 reward is being offered for tips leading to the two remaining fugitives authorities have linked to a major drug and sex-trafficking ring at Detroit’s Victory Inn.
Darrick “Tone” Bell and Detroiter Harold “Nephew” Nero have been missing since U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents in January launched one of the largest federal raids in Detroit history at the 42-room motel.
The probe and raid rescued 14 women as well as uncovered an extensive criminal organization with a hierarchy, lookouts and a body count. Federal investigators have called the inn near Michigan Avenue and the Dearborn border a “den of iniquities” where cocaine, heroin and flesh were sold with staff’s help.
Authorities have described Bell, 48, a convicted killer and alleged pimp, is as a mysterious kingpin with 12 aliases who allegedly controlled drug and sex-trafficking activity. Crime Stoppers of Michigan officials on Wednesday described him as “the ringleader behind the horrific crimes of sex trafficking, drugs, guns and overdose deaths.”
Nero also is wanted for his alleged role in the operations and has been indicted.
An investigation into a criminal operation at the Victory Inn launched in September when a suspected human trafficking victim was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital after ingesting heroin, according to court records.
Since the Jan. 12 sweep, several associates have been taken into custody.
A manhunt led federal agents to Bell’s girlfriend, Lena Sled, in April. She has been charged with helping him hide and launder money. The Detroit resident also told investigators Bell had visited and contacted her home this year.
In late March, agents arrested a Victory Inn worker who also dated Bell. Sex-trafficking victims knew Janette Tawfik as the “Dragon Lady” of Victory Inn and described the Macomb Township resident as a gun-toting motel manager who helped run the crime ring, according to authorities.
Authorities have also arrested 11-time felon Terry Pruitt, who was captured on a city police officer’s body camera during a November incident at the motel saying he “sells girls”; accused pimp and drug dealer Shelvie “Q” Avery, Bell’s alleged lieutenant; convicted sex offender Bryant Daugherty; and another felon, Michael Randol.
Bell is described as 5-foot-9, 195 pounds “and should be considered armed and dangerous,” Crime Stoppers leaders said Wednesday. “He is well known in Southwest Detroit.”
Nero is described as 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds.
Anyone with information on either man is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP, go to www.1800speakup.org or text CSM and a tip to 274637.