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Pair charged in suspected sex trafficking operation

Posted June 7, 2013

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— Two men in the Durham County jail face kidnapping charges in what deputies said Friday could be a sex-trafficking operation.

Hang Wu, 22, and Ryan Tyler Wurzel, 20, of Dover, Del., also are charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a stolen weapon. Wu, a native of China who is being held on an immigration detainer because of an expired student visa, also was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Deputies pulled over an SUV with Michigan plates on U.S. Highway 70 on May 30 and found five teens and two men inside, said Deputy Paul Sherwin, spokesman for the Durham County Sheriff's Office.

Sherwin said the group was trying to pick up a Durham teen at the time the SUV was stopped.

"It could be as innocent as a group of kids looking for some companionship who decided to run away together, or it could be as serious as a sex trafficking ring that’s been discovered," he said.

The teens, who were between the ages of 13 and 15, were from Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, he said, adding that "set off some bells and whistles, saying this isn't quite right."

Durham County authorities have contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Center of Missing and Exploited Children for assistance in investigating the case.

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  • ncmickey Jun 10, 2013

    Yea, read the N&O link. They actually did some reporting...unlike WRAL

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 10, 2013

    Thanks, @dirkdiggler. That really paints a good story that certainly looks like a bunch of runaways.

    It's too bad that a couple of adults got involved later on...I'm not sure they should be held for any of this..."possession of stolen property" & "stolen gun"? Puh-lease. It's the 15 y.o. son who stole his momma's guns and SUV.

  • Rebelyell55 Jun 7, 2013

    Might just be run aways, but if it as serious as it sounds, they just may of saved some lives from a terrible fate.

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Jun 7, 2013

    Obamacare for life, I did too. It was hard to tell at first, until I saw a faint mustache.

  • Mom2two Jun 7, 2013

    Agreed, dirk. This is one really bizarre story. "It's 11pm and do you know what website your child is on?"

  • dirkdiggler Jun 7, 2013

    wow, there is SO much more to this story. check out this link that actually tells what happened... http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/06/2944724/durham-traffic-stop-discovers.html

  • Just One Opinion Jun 7, 2013

    I agree, Mr. Wu does look to be a woman.

    Beyond that, between immigration problems, stolen vehicle and teens that appear to be kidnapped for purposes of sex trafficking, it should be centuries before Mr. Wu and Mr. Wurzel are able to continue business.

    Wow, they covered a wide spectrum of crime.

  • Obamacare for life Jun 7, 2013

    I thought Hang Wu was a woman at first glance.