trafficking

Marcus E. Tukes, 47, of Bridgeton, was indicted on March 7 for human trafficking of a child, endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of human trafficking of adults and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, cocaine, according to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

MAYS LANDING — A Bridgeton man pleaded guilty Wednesday to human trafficking for sex with an adult victim, according to Atlantic County First Assistant Prosecutor Cary Shill.

Marcus E. Tukes, 47, of Industrial Boulevard, acknowledged he provided lodging to one of the victims with the knowledge and purpose of promoting the victim’s prostitution, Shill said.

Tukes requested bail pending sentence, which was denied by Judge Jeffrey Waldman, Shill said.

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Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17. Tukes will receive a 10-year sentence in a New Jersey state prison, per the plea agreement, Shill said.

In March, an Atlantic County grand jury indicted Tukes on charges of human trafficking, endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, Shill said.

An investigation by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force resulted in the arrests of Tukes and Courtney H. Close, 31, of MacDonald Place, Brigantine, on Dec. 2, 2016, Shill said.

Both suspects were originally charged with promoting the prostitution of a child under age 18, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy, Shill said.

The arrest was made without incident at the Knight’s Inn of Absecon.

The focus of the investigation was the exploitation of a girl under age 18 for the purpose of promoting prostitution, Shill said.

The Child Exploitation Task Force located and ensured the protection of the female juvenile victim before the arrests of Tukes and Close, Shill said.

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Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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