MARION, Ark. — A Marion man is now facing serious charges including nine counts of sexual extortion and human trafficking following a two-week investigation.
The detectives told WREG after receiving a tip a few weeks ago, they worked around the clock until the victim was safe.
A two-week investigation landed a man, 50-year-old Lance Laurent of Marion, Arkansas in the Crittenden County jail. He’s facing 18 criminal counts ranging from drugs and weapons charges to sexual extortion and human trafficking.
According to Chief Todd Grooms with the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office a caller reported strange behavior. Chief Grooms said Laurent was previously arrested in Louisiana for similar charges.
“We received information about some activity going on within our county of an individual who likes to target vulnerable people and take advantage of them for their money and different things,” Chief Grooms said. “The evidence indicates that there has been prior victims.”
Detectives Chelsey Stafford and Brittany Thorne jumped on the case working tirelessly until it was solved.
“This investigation was definitely victim centered,” Det. Thorne said.
“A lot of hours…a lot of surveillance around the clock,” Det. Stafford said.
Their efforts led to Laurent’s arrest, and it allowed them to protect a woman he was allegedly abusing.
“She told us she’d been praying for God to send her two angels and the two angels were us. it’s just indescribable,” Det. Stafford said.
That feeling is being rewarded with the two well-deserved Distinguished Service Awards.
“It’s my belief the work these ladies did saved this individuals life,” Chief Grooms said. “It’s rewarding it feels nice but the best part is our victim.. we helped her.”
Laurent’s bond is set at $102,525. The sheriff’s office said he could face more charges.