Cookeville police arrest 8 in human trafficking investigation


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – During a routine investigation looking for victims of human trafficking, Cookeville Police arrested seven people and charged them with patronizing prostitution. An eighth person was arrested and charged with prostitution. 

Officers say the goal of their investigation was to find people who are exploited into the sex trade, including juveniles. In this case, officers did not find any victims but say seven people attempted to hire an undercover officer as a prostitute. 

The people who were arrested and charged with patronizing prostitution include:
• Joshua Tyler Meadows, age 33, of Cookeville, TN 
• Kevin Lael Arber, age 58, of Nashville, TN 
• Sam Barrera, age 20, of Gainesboro, TN 
• Timothy Howell, age 52, of Jamestown, TN 
• Bobby McGill, age 20, of Robbins, TN
• Matthew Kerney, age 45, of Byrdstown, TN 
• Michael Custer, age 59, of Lebanon, TN 

A woman was charged with prostitution. A Cookeville Police Captain told News 2 the woman was interviewed to see if she might be a victim of human trafficking but said they found no evidence she was.

The Cookeville Police Department urges anyone with information about potential human trafficking situations to call the non-emergency line at 931-526-2125. Victims of human trafficking can call the Cookeville Police Department or a 24-hour toll free hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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