DETROIT – Officials have revealed how a woman allegedly hid the leader of the sophisticated Victory Inn human trafficking and drug operation during a three-year manhunt throughout Metro Detroit.
Darrick Bell, 50, also known as Tone or Ghost, and five other defendants were charged in a 9-count indictment with trafficking in persons, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion collection and conspiracy, among other charges.
Bell absconded before nearly 200 law enforcement officials raided the Detroit motel in January 2017.
Bell taken into custody after nearly 3 years
After the raid at the Victory Inn Motel on Jan. 12, 2017, a grand jury indicted Bell on March 29, 2017.
An arrest warrant was issued for distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death or serious bodily injury, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, sex trafficking -- attempt or conspiracy, aiding and abetting and maintaining drug-involved premises.
Federal agents actively searched for Bell for nearly three years before he was arrested Wednesday in Monroe.
The arrest was made at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites on East Albain Road in Monroe, police said.
Officials entered room 223 of the hotel and found Bell in a room with Rachel Ayers, according to authorities.
Agents arrested Bell and found multiple cellphones, cocaine base, cocaine powder, individually packaged marijuana and more than $11,000 in cash.
Ayers accused of helping Bell hide from authorities
Police said Ayers waived her Miranda rights after being detained.
She said various times since January 2017 she has traveled with Bell within and between Michigan and Ohio, according to court records.
Officials said Ayers admitted to being aware that Bell had been a federal fugitive since 2017.
She told police she had actively helped Bell evade arrest, including driving him between locations for the purpose of hiding, court records show.
Ayers also bought cellphones for Bell to communicate with known drug traffickers to secure money and avoid arrest, police said.
In late July, Ayers said she picked up Bell in Ohio while law enforcement officials were actively searching for him and brought him back to Michigan, according to authorities.
Ayers is facing a charge of concealing a person from arrest.
More Victory Inn coverage
March 30, 2017: Fire rips through shuttered Victory Inn motel on Michigan Avenue
Jan. 12, 2017: Police raid Victory Inn motel on Michigan Avenue in Detroit