Five arrested in anti-human trafficking operation near Effingham

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — A recent anti-human trafficking operation in the Effingham area resulted in five people being arrested, Illinois State Police announced.

The arrests were made on Thursday and four of those people were subsequently charged with solicitation of a sexual act:

  • Justin P. Covey, 32 of Irvine, Ky.

  • Scott Grote, 38 of Centralia, Ill.

  • David Hackett, 71 of Tuscola, Ill.

  • Thad White, 50 of Cowden, Ill.

The fifth person arrested was Daniel Bennett, 38 of Bethany, Ill. He was charged with indecent solicitation of a child, traveling to meet a child, and solicitation to meet a child.

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ISP’s operation was part of a multifaceted approach aimed at stopping human trafficking in Illinois. Participating agencies included the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, Central Illinois Enforcement Group, Effingham Police Department, Christian County Sheriff’s Department, and Homeland Security Investigations. The Effingham County States Attorney’s Office also helped out with the operation.

State Police reminded people that if they suspect human trafficking, they should call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text *233733. People can also email

You can learn more about human trafficking and its signs at the National Human Trafficking Hotline’s website.

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