Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas agencies make four more sex-trafficking arrests

LARGO — Law enforcement agencies announced four arrests Monday in two separate human-trafficking rings that they say dispatched local women and at least two juvenile girls across the Tampa Bay area for prostitution.

Donell Jenkins, 21, alleged ringleader Antron Smith, 30, and his girlfriend Stacy Jo Bumgarner, 28, all of St. Petersburg, are accused of forcing two teen girls into prostitution.

According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the girls, 15- and 16-year-old habitual runaways from St. Petersburg, were threatened with violence if they didn't comply.

Gualtieri said the trio advertised the girls' services in online ads and placed them in hotel rooms around Pinellas County.

Smith, Jenkins and Bumgarner are each charged with procuring a minor for prostitution, deriving support from perceived prostitution and renting space for prostitution.

Gualtieri said the case came to light overnight Saturday, when deputies were dispatched on a tip to the Knights Inn in St. Petersburg to arrest Bumgarner on a warrant out of Georgia.

Deputies found the two girls in a room with Jenkins, identified by Gualtieri as a formerly homeless man Smith hired to monitor the girls' every move.

Smith and Bumgarner were arrested after deputies found them in another room with Smith's children, ages 6 and 9. The youngsters were placed in foster care by authorities, who could not locate their mother.

Gualtieri said Smith — known as "The Trickmaster" and "Uncle" — met the 15-year-old through a mutual acquaintance about a week ago and offered to help her with a job and shelter.

"What she didn't know," he said, "is what it would involve."

He said Bumgarner, a former prostitute Smith said he rescued from the trade, taught the teen how to be a prostitute. The other girl was recruited days later.

The teens, renamed "Candy" and "Diamond," were forced to have sex with as many as five men a day who called their cellphones after viewing ads the traffickers set up on Backpage.com. Smith told the girls that "no sex acts were off the table," so, Gualtieri said, "he could make the money off the backs of these girls, literally."

The teens charged $100 to $350 for appointments set up at five motels in Pinellas Park and along the 34th Street corridor in St. Petersburg. The traffickers took 50 percent of the money.

The girls were placed in foster care after their parents refused to take them back, Gualtieri said.

Police are searching for what they believe are at least five additional victims being controlled by other employees of Smith.

The arrests happened within hours of two made Friday by the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking in connection with a drug and prostitution enterprise involving at least 16 local women.

The task force on Monday announced the arrest of a third suspect in that case: Holly Cannarelli, 55, a transient.

According to police, Cannarelli and the two arrested Friday — Peter D. Kitt, 41, of Tampa and Shawn D. Franklin, 42, of St. Petersburg — recruited women in their 20s from strip clubs and sent them to a Pinellas brothel for training as prostitutes.

Officers said the women were encouraged to get hooked on drugs and were threatened with death or beaten if they did not service clients. The clients visited the women in bay-area hotels or other locations arranged through Backpage.com.

A Pinellas judge appointed a public defender for Cannarelli. Like Kitt and Franklin, her bail was set at $1 million.

Gualtieri said the fact that the arrests by his agency are unrelated to the trafficking task force's case is especially disturbing "because it tells me this is becoming more and more of a problem."

The sheriff said he plans to add at least two more investigators to his Crimes Against Children Unit.

The traffickers and johns "need to be held accountable for this," Gualtieri said. "This is the tip of the iceberg."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or ksummers@tampabay.com.

>>Fast facts

Can you help?

Have information about the St. Petersburg teen trafficking ring? Call Detective Jennifer Zinge at (727) 582-6200 or Crime Stoppers, toll-free, at 1-800-873-TIPS.

Pinellas agencies make four more sex-trafficking arrests 05/13/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 13, 2013 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lanes closed after pedestrian fatally struck by semi-tractor on U.S. 19 in Clearwater

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — Southbound lanes on U.S. 19 were closed early Wednesday morning after a pedestrian was fatally struck by a semi-trailer.

  2. Manhattan Casino controversy resumes after taking a break for Irma

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration has once again found itself defending its controversial choice of the Callaloo Group to open a "Floribbean" restaurant in the historic but currently empty Manhattan Casino.

  3. At Menorah Manor, planning paid off during Irma

    Nursing Homes

    ST. PETERSBURG — Doris Rosenblatt and her husband, Frank, have lived in Florida all of their lives, so they know about hurricanes.

    Raisa Collins, 9, far left, works on a craft project as Certified Nursing Assistant Shuntal Anthony holds Cassidy Merrill, 1, while pouring glue for Quanniyah Brownlee, 9, right, at Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. To help keep its patients safe during Hurricane Irma, Menorah Manor allowed employees to shelter their families and pets at the nursing home and also offered daycare through the week. The facility was able to accommodate and feed everyone who weathered the storm there. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Carlton: The cross atop the church that moved, and other strange tales from Hurricane Irma

    Hurricanes

    Down in Miami, the famous tan-don't-burn Coppertone Girl on the side of a building lost her head — part of it, at least, the top of her blond hair lopped off in the fierce winds of Hurricane Irma. ("At least her tan line and doggie weathered the storm," the Miami Herald noted optimistically.)

    Hurricane Irma partly decapitated the Coppertone Girl in Miami. [Miami Herald]