Lafayette woman accused of sex trafficking caught

A Lafayette woman wanted in a child sex trafficking case is in jail in Houston and is awaiting transfer to Lafayette, State Police said.

Darneesha Lashay Martin, 22, was arrested about 2 a.m. Saturday by the Houston Police Department on counts of trafficking of children for sexual purposes and promoting prostitution, according to a State Police news release.

Martin was snagged in an investigation called Operation Carpe Diem that was conducted jointly by agencies Louisiana and Texas.

Martin’s accused accomplice, Alcoby Con LaSalle, 19, Lafayette, surrendered to Louisiana state troopers on Nov. 27. LaSalle was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on counts of trafficking children for sexual purposes and for promoting prostitution, the release says.

Martin and LaSalle are accused of working together to prostitute 16-year-old runaways in the Lafayette area.

Martin pretended to befriend two girls, buying them clothes and getting their nails done, State Police has said. Martin allegedly made the girls feel pretty, then sold their bodies through classified ad sites on the Internet.

State Police intercepted and rescued the girls who were being driven to an assignation. LaSalle surrendered later, but Martin remained on the loose until Saturday.

Operation Carpe Diem combined officers from Louisiana State Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers and the Houston Police Department.

They arrested people accused of narcotics trafficking, weapons violation, theft, fugitives, human trafficking, juvenile pornography and sex offenders.