UPDATED 4/25/22 at 2:30 p.m. to reflect a correction to the charge placed against Eric Griffith.
SEVIER COUNTY – A two-day undercover operation by special agents with the TBI Human Trafficking Unit, the Sevierville Police Department, the Pigeon Forge Police Department, the Gatlinburg Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit, and the office of 4th Judicial District Attorney General James Dunn has resulted in the arrest of eight men accused of seeking illicit sex from minors.
Over a two-day period beginning April 21st, as part of an undercover investigation aimed at addressing human trafficking in East Tennessee, authorities placed several decoy advertisements on websites known to be linked to prostitution and commercial sex cases. The focus of the operation was to identify individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors. As a result of the operation, authorities arrested eight men and booked them into the Sevier County Jail:
- Carl Joseph Cantrell (DOB: 7/16/88), Dandridge, TN: One count of Solicitation of a Minor
- Benjamin Jason Holt (DOB: 10/12/77), Newport, TN: One count of Solicitation of a Minor
- Eric Burse Griffith (DOB: 7/18/81), Robbins, TN: One count of Soliciting Sexual Exploitation of a Minor by Electronic Means
- Denis Tyulkin (DOB: 6/15/76), Ravenna, OH: One count of Solicitation of a Minor
- Tyler Ryan Arrington (DOB: 12/15/92), Lebanon, VA: One count of Solicitation of a Minor
- Raul Pedro (DOB: 5/28/94), Knoxville, TN: One count of Solicitation of a Minor
- Kevin Leroy Baer (DOB: 12/16/55), Westminster, MD: One count of Solicitation of a Minor
- Ivan Kale Freeman (DOB: 1/27/92), Knoxville, TN: One count of Solicitation of a Minor
Information about human trafficking and TBI’s efforts to address this type of crime can be found online at www.ITHasToStop.com.