MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WHNT) — A Decatur man was among those arrested in an undercover human trafficking operation last week, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

TBI said the two-day sting was focused on the Memphis area, and resulted in the arrests of nine men. The operation involved officers placing decoy advertisements on certain websites that were linked to prostitution or commercial sex, specifically involving minors.

Police say Thomas Joseph, 66, of Decatur, was arrested during the operation and charged with two counts of trafficking for commercial sex. He was booked into the Shelby County, Tenn. Jail on a $7,500 bond.

During the operation, officers say they found nine vehicles, six weapons, as well as thousands of dollars and illegal drugs.

TBI listed eight others arrested in the operation including:

  • Nathan Durham, 46, of Memphis: Two counts of trafficking for commercial sex acts, one count of possession with intent (marijuana), three counts of unlawful possession of a weapon, three counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony; $15,000 bond
  • Doubse Edwards, 55, of Memphis: Two counts of trafficking for commercial sex acts, one count of possession with intent (cocaine), one count of felony possession of methamphetamine; $40,000 bond
  • Cortez Holloway, 32, of Memphis: One count of promoting prostitution; $5,000 bond
  • Lironda Knighten, 26, of Marion, Ark.: Two counts of trafficking for commercial sex acts, one count of possession with intent (marijuana), one count of unlawful possession of a weapon, one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony; $20,000 bond
  • Mark Pitts, 48, of Forrest City, Ark.: Two counts of trafficking for commercial sex acts; $10,000 bond
  • Steven Scroggins, 37, of Portland, Ark.: Two counts of trafficking for commercial sex acts, one count of felony possession of methamphetamine; $30,000 bond
  • Patrick Watt, 55, of Memphis: One count of trafficking for commercial sex acts; $15,000 bond
  • Anthony White, 52, of Horn Lake, Miss.: One count of trafficking for commercial sex acts; $15,000 bond

For more information on TBI’s efforts to curb human trafficking, click here.