A 43-year-old Spokane, Washington, man who has trafficked a 20-year-old woman across four states was arrested Thursday morning in an undercover McLennan County Sheriff’s Office online sting that ended at a downtown Waco hotel, Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.
James Donaldson, 43, was arrested with his wife, Leah Stevens-King, 42, after Donaldson made an online arrangement with an undercover officer at Courtyard Marriott Waco. McNamara said Donaldson and his wife came to the hotel with the 20-year-old woman to meet with a man for sex.
The Tribune-Herald does not release the names of human-trafficking victims.
“He has trafficked this woman across Washington, Oregon, Utah and all across Texas,” McNamara said. “He has already been charged with promotion of prostitution in Washington, so now we added another serious felony to his charges.”
Donaldson and his wife dropped the woman off at the front of the hotel and parked near the back of the hotel to wait, McNamara said. The woman went inside and met McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Detective Joseph Scaramucci, who detained her with help from other officers.
“The male … was non-compliant,” McNamara said. “They also had a very vicious pit bull in the car that was trying to jump up through the window to attack our officers.”
McNamara said officers called for additional help, and Donaldson’s aggressive demeanor and the dog made the situation more dangerous. The arrest was made at gunpoint, he said.
In the couple’s vehicle, officers found an undisclosed amount of marijuana and $6,600 in cash, McNamara said.
Donaldson was arrested on a first-degree felony charge of continuous human trafficking. He remained in McLennan County Jail with bond listed at $100,000.
Stevens-King and the 20-year-old woman were each arrested on Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges outside the hotel. McNamara said investigators do not believe Stevens-King had any direct involvement with the prostitution arrangement, but the investigation remains ongoing.
Bond for Stevens-King was not immediately available Thursday evening.