How police say woman helped hide Victory Inn human trafficking ring leader during 3-year manhunt

Rachel Ayers accused of helping Darrick Bell hide from authorities

Darrick Bell (ICE)
Darrick Bell (ICE)

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

July 28, 2017: Man arrested in connection with Victory Inn sex trafficking ring

April 17, 2017: More charges issued in Victory Inn crime ring; woman accused of harboring person from arrest

April 3, 2017: Shuttered Victory Inn motel clerk accused of helping to run prostitution, drug ring

March 31, 2017: Unsealed indictment describes extent of crime organization at Victory Inn motel in Detroit

March 30, 2017: Fire rips through shuttered Victory Inn motel on Michigan Avenue

March 21, 2017: Alleged pimp in Victory Inn prostitution ring to remain behind bars after detention hearing

March 17, 2017: Alleged pimp considered among leaders of Victory Inn prostitution ring arrested

Feb. 9, 2017: Victory Inn raid leads to sex trafficking, drug distribution, conspiracy charges

Jan. 12, 2017: Police raid Victory Inn motel on Michigan Avenue in Detroit

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