Pair charged in suspected sex trafficking operation
Posted June 7, 2013
Durham, N.C. — 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.