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Human trafficking not like what you see on TV, says sheriff

30-year-old Sault man faces drug, sexual assault and human trafficking charges
Chippewa County Sheriff Michael Bitnar

Since the Fall of 2022, TRI-DENT detectives in the Eastern Upper Peninsula has been investigating a Sault Ste. Marie resident for possible human trafficking, among other things.

On March 1, 30-year-old Cody McCoy was arrested and officially charged with 13 felonies, three of which were human trafficking with forced labor.

Other charges include nine counts involving drugs, and one criminal sexual assault in the third degree.

Chippewa County Sheriff Mike Bitnar says human trafficking in our area is not what you see on the big screen where you have semi-trailers with people in them being sold for sex and drugs.  

"We are a lot smaller up here, so it's a little different than what you see in the movies, in part, because of the internet. It's easier for the criminals to lure in suspecting people," Bitnar said.

While this particular case at this time does not involved minor children, Bitnar said, it does involve using drug addiction as a weapon for young adults.

McCoy is a fourth time habitual offender.  

It frustrates law enforcement that people are out on the street time after time hurting people and families.

"Law enforcement, we work very hard to do our part. The courts take it from there. We can only do what we do," Bitnar added.

"I think the biggest message today is to let victims of human trafficking know that they can come and talk to us. If they do not want to talk to law enforcement, we have the U.P. Human Trafficking Task Force, we have tip lines. We are here to give them a voice and to hold those offenders accountable," Bitnar emphasized.