Man arrested for human trafficking at Mackinac Bridge while trying to enter UP

The Mackinac Bridge from St. Ignace, looking South,
The Mackinac Bridge from St. Ignace, looking South,(Mackinac Bridge Authority)
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 3:47 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 4:03 PM EST
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ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WLUC) - A 38-year-old man from Comstock Park was arrested for human trafficking after Mackinac Bridge Authority workers spotted him attempting to smuggle a teen across the bridge and into the Upper Peninsula.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Task Force arrested the Comstock Park man on Nov. 12, after investigating him since the month prior.

Investigators with the task force received a tip in October about the suspect and had been working on leads since. The initial investigation found that the man befriended a 16-year-old Grand Rapids girl while in a public area. From there, she was trafficked through online postings.

On Nov. 12, KCSO received information that the teen was in the Upper Peninsula and possibly in the company of the man. Information was broadcast to Northern Michigan authorities and an observant staff member for the Mackinac Bridge Authority saw the suspect driving and a person hiding under a blanket in the back seat.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority summoned law enforcement and the vehicle was stopped after crossing the bridge into the U.P.

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office authorized charges of: sexually abusive activity, human trafficking, possession of child abusive material, and using a computer to commit a crime. The man is expected to be arraigned in 63rd District court as early as Wednesday Nov. 23, according to a Kent County Sheriff’s deputy.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office wants to thank the quick action of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, Michigan State Police, Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tuscarora Township Police Department in helping bring this case to resolution.