A two-day, undercover operation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Unit, the Sweetwater Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the 10th Judicial District Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, and the office of 10th District Attorney General Steve Crump has resulted in the arrest of several men accused of seeking illicit sex from minors.
One of those men is a Decatur resident.
Over a two-day period beginning May 26, as part of an undercover investigation aimed at addressing human trafficking in the region, authorities placed several decoy advertisements known to be linked to prostitution and commercial sex cases.
As a result of the operation, authorities arrested six men, one of them identified as Steven Lawrence Kobylski, 33, of Decatur, on the charge of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor.
None of the other five men were local, however all were from the region. They are:
• Matthew Jason Cohen, 42, of Maryville: Trafficking for a commercial sex act
• James Stephen Stinnett, 37, of Madisonville: Trafficking for a commercial sex act
• Anthony Cornelius Baylis, 37, of Harriman: Trafficking for a commercial sex act
• Joshua James Thomas, 32, of Tellico Plains: Trafficking for a commercial sex act
• Pedro Juan Berenguer Torres, 50, of Powell: Trafficking for a commercial sex act
The operation also had the support of Grow Free TN and WillowBend Farms, which work to provide services to survivors of human trafficking. Information about trafficking and TBI’s efforts to address this type of crime can be found online at www.ITHasToStop.com