Rafael Quiroz-Martinez, 23, of Houston, Texas, was arrested on suspicion of human sex trafficking

Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2015 12:00 am

From Staff Reports

A man arrested by state troopers in Knox County Wednesday on suspicion of human sex trafficking is being held at the Blount County jail.

Rafael E. Quiroz-Martinez, 23, of Houston, Texas, was booked into the Blount County jail Friday night. He is being held as a federal prisoner on human smuggling charges.

Quiroz-Martinez was arrested Wednesday following a traffic stop in I-40 in Knox County, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol news release.

THP Trooper Jonathan Scott, assigned to THP’s Interdiction Plus Team (IPT), made a traffic stop on a 2007 Honda Fit for a window tint violation, the release said. During Trooper Scott’s interview of the driver, identified as Quiroz-Martinez, and the vehicle’s 19-year-old female passenger, several inconsistencies arose in their statements.

Quiroz-Martinez was found to be in possession of $1,380 in cash, a ledger containing cities and dollar amounts and micro SD storage card. He also did not have any luggage in the vehicle. As the search continued, authorities discovered a number of small, hand-written cards which had “LON TIME” and two phone numbers written on them.

After further investigation, authorities received information indicating the Houston, Texas, address of the vehicle’s registration had previously been involved in two prior human trafficking cases. Quiroz-Martinez also had a 2013 order for deportation.

Quiroz-Martinez was arrested and taken to the Knox County Detention Facility where HSI placed a detainer on him pending federal prosecution for possible human sex trafficking. He was later transferred to the Blount County jail.

The 19-year-old female passenger was taken to a safe location where her family was contacted to pick her up.