TAMPA — A member of the Latin Kings gang has been arrested on a charge of human trafficking as part of a sheriff's undercover operation.
Steven Tylor Cook, 29, was arrested Tuesday in a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office investigation that targeted individuals advertising adult escort services via the internet. The investigation centered on local hotels.
Cook, of 10804 N Edison Ave. in Tampa, had been arrested earlier, on May 17, when he was seen dropping off two women suspected of prostitution, the Sheriff's Office said.
Cook had sent the women messages to make sure the money they received was not counterfeit, the Sheriff's Office said.
The arrest location is the address of a motel in Sun City Center, according to jail booking records. He was charged then with possession of counterfeit bills, transporting for prostitution, and felon in possession of a firearm, and was identified as a certified member of the Latin Kings gang, the Sheriff's Office said.
Further investigation turned up an individual who had been coerced by Cook into performing commercial sexual activity, resulting in additional charges, the Sheriff's Office said — coercion for commercial sex by human trafficking and deriving support from prostitution.
He was arrested on these charges about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday at East Busch Boulevard and 14th Street, the address of a gas station, according to booking records.
"I am proud that our detectives didn't stop at the arrest made back in May," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a news release. "They knew there was more to the crimes and worked until they uncovered what was really happening."