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Police: 16-year-old charged with trafficking was driving kidnapped minor to another state in stolen van

Officers pulled the teen driver over after they saw her using her cellphone. That's when they reportedly found THC, lingerie and a 13-year-old girl inside the van.

CANTON, Ga. — A 16-year-old girl is accused of kidnapping, trafficking and other drug-related crimes after police said they found a 13-year-old girl inside a van during a traffic stop Wednesday morning.

Canton police said they stopped the 16-year-old driver around 10:30 a.m. on North Street, near Railroad Street, after they spotted her holding her cellphone while driving. 

When officers asked her for her identity, police said the 16-year-old didn't have a driver's license or ID. Officers ran a check on the registration for the Dodge Caravan, they discovered that it had reportedly been stolen out of North Carolina.

Officers then searched the van, and that's when they reportedly found the 13-year-old girl who they identified as a victim of kidnapping and trafficking. Police said the 16-year-old was trying to drive the girl to another state.

During the search of the van, officers also found more than a dozen THC vape cartridges, three vape pens, a THC Nerds Rope and a "large amount of lingerie."

Officers arrested the 16-year-old driver, whom 11Alive is not naming because of her age. She now faces charges of:

  • Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Giving False Name, Address, or Date of Birth
  • Theft by Receiving Stolen Property -Stolen in Other State
  • Unlawful Use of Wireless Device
  •  VGCSA Possession of a Controlled Substance

She is currently in custody at a regional youth detention center.

Meanwhile the victim, who 11Alive is also not naming, has been reunited with her family.

In a statement, Canton Police Chief Stephen Merrifield said he was grateful for "the exceptional work" of officers and detectives in this case. 

"By taking a routine traffic stop and conducting an exceptional investigation, members of the Canton Police Department forever changed a young girl's life for the better," he said.

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