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12 people arrested in Pasco County human trafficking case, missing teen found

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Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco announced 12 people were arrested in connection to a “large scale human trafficking” case in Pasco County Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Nocco said the case began on Nov. 21, 2022, when a 16-year-old girl ran away and was reported missing to PSO. When officers found the girl on Dec. 4, 2022, she reported being a survivor of human trafficking during that time.

Detectives learned the girl first began a friendship with Steven Graham, who was contracted to clean the girl’s guardian’s pool in late 2021. Investigators said the relationship turned sexual in June 2022 and continued for several months. On Nov. 21, 2022, the girl got into an argument with her guardian and ran away from her home in New Port Richey.

According to PSO, the girl intended on connecting with Graham but was picked up by Mark Poore, a registered sex offender, before meeting with Graham. Poore had no previous relationship with the girl but engaged in sexual activities with her before giving her a ride and a meal.

Investigators said Poore dropped the girl off in the area of US 19 and SR 54 and she then walked toward Graham’s house. After she was unable to get in touch with Graham, she met John Malley who invited her into his home and allowed her to shower before engaging in sexual activities.

Nocco said Malley told the girl she couldn’t stay at his house. He then drove her to 7-11 where she met up with Graham. While at 7-11, the girl met Deontre Poole, who gave her his phone number.

Graham and the girl drive to an abandoned Golden Corral where they have sex. After, the girl reached out to Malley to pick her up. Malley picked her up at the same 7-11 and took her to Walmart, where he buys her makeup and clothing. Malley brought her back to his house to engage in sexual activities and the girl told him she is 16-years-old. PSO said Malley told her she couldn’t stay at his house so she called Pooler to pick her up.

Detectives said Poole and the girl drove around doing and selling drugs. The two ended up driving to the Rodeway Inn, and Poole got a room for them to engage in sexual activities. PSO said Poole left the girl at the hotel alone after their encounter.

On Nov. 22, while the girl is at the hotel, investigators said she met Braden Dunn and Alan Schivao and engaged in sexual activities. According to investigators, the girl met Timothy Colon at the hotel and they engaged in sexual activities in Colon’s car. Nocco said the girl told Colon her age and he told her to say she is 20-years-old.

On Nov. 23, Colon took the girl to his home in Spring Hill, where they meet Candice Tekdogan, an acquaintance of Colon. Tekdogan engaged in sexual activities with the girl at Colon’s house. Detectives said Tekdogan brought the girl to her house in Spring Hill where she stayed for most of the time until she was found in December.

During that time, Tekdogan provided the girl with wigs, clothing, and helped her make adult connections and engage in sexual activities. According to authorities, the girl engaged in sexual acts with multiple people over the next couple weeks.

On Dec. 3, Tekdogan saw a missing persons post on social media from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. Tekdogan told Graham to get the girl out of her house and he took her to La Vista Inn in Port Richey. Tekdogan called PSO to report the girl’s location. Deputies found her and took her into protective custody.

In total, PSO arrested 12 men and women in connection to this case. In addition to human trafficking charges, these 12 suspects face charges such as sheltering, unlawful sex with certain minors, use of a child in sexual performance, traveling to meet minors and possession of child pornography.

“Thanks to the hard work of Sheriff Nocco, Sheriff Nienhuis and their dedicated deputies, a minor has been rescued from human traffickers. Those who abused the victim are facing serious charges and my Statewide Prosecutors will make sure justice is served,” said Attorney General Moody.

“If something looks unusual, like a teenage girl walking down the street at 1 or 2 in the morning, somebody report that. Tell us because you don’t know who you may be saving. It is not normal for a 16-year-old to be walking down the street at 3 in the morning,” said Nocco.

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