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Update: Federal charges possible after human trafficking complaint

June 25th, 2013 12:01 pm by Becky Campbell

Update: Federal charges possible after human trafficking complaint

Tracy Lynn Marziani

A Bristol, Va., woman was arrested over the weekend after Johnson City police responded to a complaint about human trafficking at a local motel.

Two teenage girls, also from Bristol, Va., told police “they were told if they wanted to make some money ... they could do so by being tricked out,” according to a police report.

Tracy Lynn Marziani, 27, 706 Chester St., Apt. 1, was charged Saturday with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according court records. Two other people, Mellisa N. Roper, 34, 1603 Cherokee Road, and Jerry Johnson, 50, 807 N. Boone St., were issued misdemeanor citations for the same charge.

According to a police report, Marziani was arrested on the misdemeanor charge because she is not a Tennessee resident, which is a requirement for police to issue a citation.

Police and court records indicate Mariziani and Johnson picked up the teenage victims, ages 14 and 17, in Bristol, Va., and brought them to Johnson City. During the drive, the teens were told they could make money by being “tricked out,” according to the police report.

After they arrived at Motel 6 on Mountcastle Drive, the group smoked a marijuana blunt, which is marijuana rolled in a cigar wrapper leaf. The teens told police that Roper provided the blunt.

Police went to the motel around 1 a.m. Saturday after management called about numerous young females, who were not paying motel customers, in and outside Room 232. When an officer knocked on the door, a male answered and denied that any females were inside. In the room next door that adjoined Room 232, officers found Marziani, Roper, Johnson, the 14-year-old and three other men.

Officers discovered the 17-year-old was in Room 232 with a fifth man, according to the report.

Since a patrol officer issued the citations, District Attorney General Tony Clark said the case has been handed over to the criminal investigation division for further probing. 

Clark said his office is looking into the case and have been in touch with the U.S. Attorney’s office regarding federal charges.

“There could be other charges,” Clark said. “We don’t have all the facts yet.”

Clark said the U.S. Attorney’s office may get involved based on a law, which could apply to the case, and the information that the two juveniles were taken across state lines.

After being booked into the Washington County Detention Center early Saturday morning, Mariziani was released on $1,000 bond.

Mariziani, Roper and Johnson are all scheduled to appear in court on the misdemeanor charge July 9.

Press Staff Writer Kayla Carter contributed to this report.

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