Saturday, July 13, 2024

Viral Wilmington Uber driver charged in human trafficking case with over 150 victims

Five others charged with 338 felonies, one still wanted

Jesse Bright, who recorded a viral video of local law enforcement in 2017, was arrested on prostitution charges. (Screenshot of video)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Six people have been arrested and charged with 338 felonies combined for their involvement in human trafficking under the business Cape Fear Escorts/Entertainers in New Hanover County.

The six-month investigation revealed Cape Fear Escorts/Entertainers recruited 150 people by promising them thousands of dollars for dancing, but then would have the victims engage in “commercial sex acts.” The company kept the proceeds. 

READ MORE: Update: Demoted Uber video officer got backdated promotion and raise, left the force the next day

According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the incidents — evidence of the first one spanning back six months ago — took place across the county, “wherever it was they were called to.”  

The case originated from another investigation, one which NHCSO spokesperson Lt. Jerry Brewer said could not be discussed.

One of the six arrested was Jesse Bright, a former Wilmington defense attorney and Uber driver.

Six years ago, Bright recorded a traffic stop interaction upon being pulled over by a Wilmington Police Department officer. Wilmington Police Sgt. Kenneth Becker told him he could go to jail for recording law enforcement personnel — which is not true. The video went viral on social media and in the news. 

Becker was “separated” from the force in January 2018. However, in the weeks following the incident, he was demoted to corporal and reassigned until the Civil Service Commission restored his rank and pay in January 2018 — and backdated it to September. The following day, Becker was off the force.

Bright was pulled over because Becker, and other law enforcement from the WPD and sheriff’s office, suspected Bright’s passenger was involved in a drug deal.

Christopher Todd Evans faces the most felonies, 166, and is being held on a $3.75 million bond. (NHCSO)

Brewer clarified the passenger was not connected to the human trafficking case.

Charged with four felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution, Bright is being held on a $60,000 bond. 

One of the other men charged in the case, Chandler David Anderson, is still wanted. He has been charged with 66 felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution.

The others arrested include: 

  • Christopher Todd Evans: Charged with 166 felonies related to human trafficking and narcotics violations, held on a $3.75 million bond 
  • Christopher Slate Arrowood: Charged with 80 felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution, held on a $750,000 bond
  • Dustin Lee Anderson: Charged with 16 felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution, held on a $65,000 bond 
  • Michael Hunter Snow: Charged with six felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution, held on a $50,000 bond

The investigation was conducted by the Coastal Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Police Department, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Homeland Security Investigations, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, and North Carolina Probation. The Durham Police Department also provided assistance.

Law enforcement encourages anyone with additional information regarding the case to contact 910-798-4200, or submit an anonymous tip on the sheriff’s office’s website.  

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