Alleged pimp considered among leaders of Victory Inn prostitution ring arrested

Shelvie Avery arrested in connection with human trafficking case

DETROIT – A key arrest in the human trafficking case that shut down the Victory Inn motel in Detroit could help lead investigators to the ringleader.

Shelvie Avery is believed to have been one of the leaders of the Victory Inn prostitution ring. The alleged mastermind, known as Tones, remains at large.

This is the third arrest in the case since the motel was raided in January.

Avery lived at the hotel. Informants said he was the main drug dealer there and forced women to have sex with others. Employees from nearby businesses said they were happy to hear about Avery's arrest.

"I'm just glad they got him off the streets," said Ray, a clerk at a nearby gas station.

Ray works at the Sunoco down the street from the Victory Inn, where investigators said Avery helped lead a criminal enterprise filled with prostitution, human trafficking and drug trafficking.

"Everybody knew about it, it just took time for them to take action," Ray said.

The action came Friday, when the Detroit Police Department and Homeland Security arrested Avery in Detroit.

Two others are charged with a number of offenses in the case, including sex trafficking, drug conspiracy and criminal enterprise.

With one of the major players in a ring that plagued the community finally captured, residents said they're relieved.

"Victory Inn is a well-known name as a safe haven for those types of activities," Kenneth Cox said. "Many people have been seeing it for a long time. We've been hearing it for a long (time). That's where you buy your drugs."

Residents hope more arrests will soon follow.

"It's a start," Cox said. "It says a lot for the city of Detroit."

According to an unsealed document from federal court, the investigation started in September when a victim came to a Detroit hospital. Officials hope this big break will lead to more arrests.

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