DETROIT – One of the main suspects in a human-trafficking ring at the Victory Inn motel will remain in jail until his trial.
The Victory Inn motel on Michigan Avenue at Wyoming is hardly recognizable anymore. There's a fence up, the sign is blotted out and it's been ordered closed by a judge.
The man federal officials said ran the prostitution and drug operations out of room 200 is in jail and could stay behind bars for the rest of his life.
Shelvie Lewis Avery, 51, of Detroit, went by the nickname "Q," according to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Avery left the Victory Inn early Jan. 12, about 20 minutes before hundreds of federal officers raided the motel.
Officials found 20 women working as prostitutes, drugged and living in squalor. They were paid in heroin and crack cocaine.
Avery is accused of selling the drugs from his room. They said he had at least eight women working for him, and he allegedly oversaw the operation on the ground for a man known as "Tone," for whom police are still searching.
The complaint against Avery said the operation ran unfettered for months, but one of the women working at the motel was confronted by police, panicked and swallowed the heroin she held for Tone.
Police took the woman to the emergency room, where she gave them information that led to extended surveillance and the January raid.
Since then, there have been three arrests. The two others are charged with a number of offenses in the case, including sex trafficking, drug conspiracy and criminal enterprise.
A fugitive task force team picked up Avery on Friday. He spent the weekend in jail and appeared at a detention hearing Tuesday, where he agreed to stay in jail until his arraignment.
An indictment is expected in the next few days.
There were 42 rooms in the hotel, and apparently only two were used for regular customers. The rest went to the criminal enterprise.