National News

American Airlines agent saves teens from suspected human trafficking plot

Posted February 18, 2018 1:43 p.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2018 5:25 p.m. EST

— Authorities are crediting a quick thinking airline employee for preventing two teenagers from becoming victims of human trafficking.

American Airlines agent Denise Miracle said it was all about trusting her gut instincts when two young girls came to her ticket counter. They had a number of small bags but told her they had no identification.

"I think it was the way they kept looking back-and-forth at each other like they weren't really sure," said Miracle. "And then they were texting someone on the phone and that person was giving them answers."

Miracle noticed the ticket from Sacramento to New York was purchased online, and the credit card had a different name.

"It was a first class ticket. It was very expensive," said Miracle. "I told a supervisor, 'I'm going to call the sheriff. It just doesn't feel right to me.' It just did not feel right."

When sheriffs deputies arrived, the girls, 15 and 17, told them they met a man called "Drey" on Instagram amd he invited them to New York for the weekend to earn $2,000 for some modeling in music videos.They had told their parents they were spending the night at each others' homes.

"They were somewhat flippant about," said Todd Sanderson with the Sacramento County Police Department. "They said, 'No that can't be true,' and I said 'No, the airline says you have a one-way ticket and in my belief you're going back there not to do the things that you think you were going to be doing. They said, 'I wouldn't let anything happen that I didn't want,' and I said, 'Well you probably wouldn't have a choice in the matter."

Authorities quickly investigated "Drey" on Instagram, but it was too late.

"We attempted to look him up on Instagram," said Sanderson. "Just a few minutes after our contact with him, he erased all of his profiles on social media."

Authorities believe the Instagram user is an expert at befriending potential victims online and luring them away from home. They believe the girls would most certainly have become victims.

Deputies say Denise Miracle's name certainly suit her. "She probably really was their miracle that day whether they want to believe it or not," said officials.