Police arrest man accused of trafficking women into prostitution

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — An investigation into human trafficking led to the arrest of a 57-year-old man on October 5.

Willie James Johnson, of Catasauqua, was taken into custody without incident in Kutztown. He is charged with two counts of trafficking individuals and one count each of involuntary servitude, possession with intent to deliver and criminal use of communication facility. Johnson is being held at York County Prison without bail.

The Northern York County Regional Police Department spoke with six informants from May 30 to August 3.

According to the affidavit, five of the informants were approached by Johnson after purchasing heroin from him. The sixth informant met Johnson when he loaned her money after she was not able to pay for a hotel room. She was told by Johnson that she must work for him to pay the room rental back, the affidavit says.

The women were trafficked by Johnson between 2014 and 2017.

All of the informants told police that they used heroin either prior to or after meeting Johnson — three of them were using the drug for the first time. They added that the money made from prostitution was given directly to Johnson. He provided the women lodging at motels in York County as well as heroin to maintain their habit, the affidavit adds.

Two of the informants noted to police that Johnson inherited a house from his mother on South Queen Street where he packaged the drugs he bought from another man on the same street.

During Northern York’s investigation, the department learned that Pennsylvania State Police conducted a probe of their own in 2014. On November 1, surveillance was conducted which showed Johnson exiting a motel room in Springettsbury Township and placing items in a white Toyota Camry registered to him. The affidavit adds that within an hour, two females left the same motel room and entered Johnson’s vehicle.

In December 2014, an informant was stopped by Northern York police. She told officers that she was prostituting and her pimp was watching them question her, the affidavit states.