Two Flint residents were arrested and charged with human trafficking of minors, according to Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson.
On Nov. 19, Swanson said 20-year-old Marquan Cox, of Flint, and 19-year-old Madyson Dennis, of Flint, were charged following an investigation from the Genesee Human Opression Strike Team (G.H.O.S.T) task force, the Flint Township Police Department, and Voices for Children.
According to Swanson, Cox and Dennis allegedly used social media to lure in four victims, ranging from 13 to 15-years old, and invite them over to a house where they were “groomed and sextorted” multiple times over a three-year period.
The investigation led police to the house, upon which Swanson said they found a “sex dungeon” in the basement with an exterior door boarded shut. It was here that law enforcement said Cox and Dennis allegedly drugged, raped, and recorded their victims, threatening to send the videos to friends and family of the victims if they did not continue to come over.
“These victims got scared. They got scared, they went there, and they were intimidated. They were threatened into having sex with both of these defendants,” Swanson said. “These little victims didn’t want to come over, but when their loved ones got a social media video of them in a compromising position, it forced them to go and try to delete them.”
Swanson said their investigation also led them to a Red Roof Inn on Miller Road in Flint, where Cox and Dennis also allegedly kept the victims. Law enforcement said they found multiple weapons including a loaded gun, 53 grams of cocaine, and an iPad that Swanson believes will help uncover more victims.
“I’m convinced there are more victims out there that Cox and Dennis groomed, sextorted, and raped that we need to help bring justice to,” Swanson said. “These four came forth and they are brave, and the system will protect them. But because this expanded over a three-year period, we want to make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned and uncovered because we know that there’s more out there.”
Swanson said he hopes cases like this can help inspire other victims to come forward.
“Law enforcement will stand by you,” Swanson said. “When people see that these individuals are held accountable, many times they will come forward and say, ‘they did that to me’ and that’s what we want. We need you to come forward. We want you to come forward because we want you to be set free and we want to make sure that you feel you have a voice.”
Cox faces 29 felonies and two misdemeanors. He is currently being held on a $620,000 cash bond. Dennis faces 24 felonies and two misdemeanors. She is currently being held on a $505,000 cash bond. They both face life in prison if convicted.
Swanson urges people to be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking.
“Look at change of behavior of your loved ones, look at how they resist the norm of the day, or they pull away and isolate,” Swanson said.
He encourages you to call 911 or G.H.O.S.T at 810-257-3422 if you or a loved one are a victim of human trafficking.