• Man accused in Charlotte/Myrtle Beach sex-trafficking operation has violent criminal past

    By: Kristin Leigh

    Updated:

    MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - A North Carolina man was arrested in connection with a human-trafficking investigation that started after a woman said she was forced into prostitution in Myrtle Beach.

    Dequan Jonquil Blakeney was arrested Friday morning in North Carolina and warrants have been obtained for him for human trafficking, kidnapping, and assault third-degree.

    The 22-year-old woman filed the report with officers on Tuesday.

    [RELATED: Couple admits to forcing children into prostitution in Myrtle Beach]

    Channel 9 learned that Blakeney, accused of a sex-trafficking operation spanning from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach, has a long rap sheet in Mecklenburg County.

    Channel 9 found that his criminal records show he has a history of violence against women.


    (Dequan Jonquil Blakeney)

    Blakeney’s past charges include robbery, theft and violent crimes against women.

    People who know him said the streets are safer when he's behind bars.

    Myrtle Beach is considered a vacation destination for most, but for a Charlotte woman, it's the place where authorities said they were forced into prostitution.

    Blakeney is charged with human trafficking, kidnapping and assault.

    Mark Blackwell, with Justice Ministries, said victims of human trafficking fight a lifelong battle.

    “Individuals who are coming out of human trafficking often times their goal is to get away and stay safe,” Blackwell said.

    [RELATED: Myrtle Beach named one of the 'most dangerous' cities in the country]

    In 2016, Blakeney was arrested for punching a woman.

    Neighbors who lived next door remember Blakeney.

    “He had a violent history of beating on women,” said a neighbor who didn’t want to be identified.

    Neighbors said police were regularly at Blakeney's former home on Kennesaw Drive.

    “I seen a young lady, she was assaulted or something, and she was needing help,” former neighbor Patricia Brooks said.

    A woman is recovering at the hospital after she told police Blakeney forced her to be a prostitute and threatened to hurt her family.

    Neighbors hope she gains the strength to meet Blakeney in the courtroom.

    “I would tell her to tell it like it is and be honest about what happened to her,” a neighbor said.

    It's not clear how the woman got away.

    The investigation is ongoing.

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