WILMINGTON — A suspect wanted in connection with a human trafficking and prostitution bust has been arrested.
Chandler David Anderson, 29 of Wilmington, turned himself into authorities and appeared in court Thursday. Anderson was given a $700,000 secured bond and is in the New Hanover County Detention Center.
Anderson is one of six people charged in a six-month investigation, conducted by multiple local, regional, state and federal agencies, into a human trafficking and prostitution ring.
Roughly half of Anderson’s charges are profiting from prostitution, while the rest are for the advancement of it, which includes solicitation under General Statute 14-203. According to court documents, his offenses date back to 2017.
The defendant is on federal probation for drug charges. In December 2020, he was indicted in a multi-county sting for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
In court Thursday, it was revealed Cape Fear Escorts and Entertainers has been under investigation for 15 years, according to Port City Daily’s media partner WECT. The business promotes itself as providing the “hottest strippers, exotic dancers and escorts in Wilmington,” according to its website, now inactive.
Law enforcement believes CFE recruited 150 dancers but forced the victims into “commercial sex acts,” while pocketing proceeds. Court documents indicate multiple victims have come forward, locally and from outside of the state, with offenses taking place as far back as a decade ago.
Also charged in the investigation is Christopher Todd Evans, Jesse Earl Bright, Christopher Slate Arrowood, Dustin Lee Anderson and Michael Hunter Snow. Prosecutor Connie Jordan indicated in court more defendants could be revealed as the investigation continues, though the DA’s office wouldn’t confirm upon Port City Daily’s request Friday.
Local, state and federal organizations involved include 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, with the help of the Durham Police Department.
Evans, 39, faces the most counts, 166, and is the only one cited with human trafficking, including four charges. Ten counts are drug-related — including felony possession of marijuana and cocaine, with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver — while the rest are for promotion and profiting from prostitution.
Dustin Anderson, 36 of Carolina Beach, faces 16 felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution. Court documents show his offenses date back to 2015.
For Hunter Snow, 38 of Wilmington, the alleged actions took place in 2013; he was charged with six felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution.
Snow and Dustin Anderson have made bond at $50,000 and $65,000 respectively, according to the NHC detention center.
Also bonding out is Jesse Bright. According to NHCSO Lt. Jerry Brewer, he turned himself in.
Bright gained notoriety in Wilmington for a viral video he posted in 2017 of a police officer saying he couldn’t record on his phone when he was being stopped while driving for Uber. He has the least amount of charges with four felony counts, all for promotion and profiting from prostitution. The 36-year-old, who now lives in Raleigh, has offenses with CFE dating back to 2018.
Durham resident Christopher Arrowood, 39, was given a $750,000 bond and transported from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office to New Hanover County Detention Center, Brewer confirmed. He faces 80 felony counts of promotion and profiting from prostitution, with offenses dating back to 2015.
The detention center confirmed Arrowood also made bond.
Evans and Chandler Anderson remain at the New Hanover County Detention Center — Evans with a $3.75 million bond and Anderson for $700,000.
Court documents indicate the case will be next heard May 11. Port City Daily asked the district attorney’s office to verify; spokesperson Sam Dooies provided this statement in response:
“These arrests reflect the tireless efforts of law enforcement to hold people who prey on the vulnerable accountable for their actions. The survivors of this treatment are to be commended for their bravery to come forward. While news of these arrests has shocked some in our community, it remains the commitment of the District Attorney’s Office, particularly as we conclude Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to ensure that no one is beneath the law’s protection.”
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