Feds: Victory Inn fugitive arrested in Detroit

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A fugitive wanted in the Victory Inn human trafficking probe has been captured, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Harold “Nephew” Nero, 42, was arrested Wednesday without incident at a Detroit residence by the U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations.

Nero appeared in federal court Wednesday and was ordered held in custody. A detention hearing was set for Friday.

Meanwhile, the manhunt continues for the last remaining fugitive, Darrick “Tone” Bell, 48, a convicted killer and alleged pimp accused of running the operation.

“The arrest of Nero puts us one step closer to justice for the victims of this alleged human trafficking ring,” said Steve Francis, HSI Detroit acting special agent in charge, in a statement. “The work will continue until we apprehend the main defendant.”

In March, Nero and five others were indicted in a nine-count indictment in the alleged human trafficking and narcotics ring. The defendants are accused of enticing victims to engage in prostitution while they lived off of the drug and sex-trafficking proceeds.

If convicted, Nero faces up to life in prison.

In January, authorities raided the Victory Inn in Detroit, uncovering what they allege is one of the largest human trafficking rings in the city. The motel sits on Michigan Avenue, east of Wyoming, near the Dearborn border.

The raid rescued 14 women from an alleged drug and sex-trafficking operation so massive that only two rooms in the 42-room motel were left for legitimate customers, officials said.

In April, federal agents captured 11-time felon Terry Pruitt, 52, of Detroit. Shelvie “Q” Avery, 50, an accused pimp and drug dealer from Detroit, was arrested in March. Two other Detroit men have been charged in the case: convicted sex offender and eight-time felon Bryant Daugherty, 45, and felon, Michael Randol, 42.

Bell’s girlfriend, Detroit resident Lena Sled, 61, was charged in April for allegedly helping him hide and launder money. A Victory Inn employee, Janette Tawfik, 40, of Macomb Township, who also was dating Bell, has been charged for helping run the alleged operation.

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