Community Notices

Two arrested after lengthy Wayland sex traffic probe

Robert H. Grigsby, 603 W. Maple St., Wayland, has been charged, along with a Grand Rapids woman, with running a prostitution ring out of his house.

Grigsby, 51, was charged with one count of sex trafficking, two counts of accepting earnings from prostitution, two counts of transportation for prostitution and a count of conspiracy to conduct a criminal enterprise.

Vanessa Anne Phillips, 39, of Grand Rapids, was charged with two counts of sex trafficking, two counts of accepting earnings of prostitution and a count of conspiracy to conduct a criminal enterprise.

What makes this case unusual is that the house was raided by police two years ago and WOOD-TV Channel 8 outed the name of the homeowner and suspect.

Grigsby was arraigned Friday in 57th District Court, Allegan.

“Those who seek to exploit vulnerable individuals are willing to set up shop anywhere.” Said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “The dedicated officers of the Wayland Police Department knew that when they initiated and pursued their investigation.

“Our partnerships with local law enforcement agencies like the Wayland Police Department make it possible to pursue these predators wherever they are operating in Michigan.”

Wayland Police began their investigation into an alleged human trafficking in October 2018. Their investigation uncovered evidence of commercial sexual activity and transporting women for illegal activities from which the accused profited.

“Thankfully crimes like this do not occur in Wayland very often,” said Police Chief Mark Garnsey. “However, the Wayland Police are fortunate to have experienced officers and investigators that are up to the task.”

He praised the State Attorney General’s Office for time given to the case, and “their relentless persistence in helping us bring two human traffickers to justice.”

He also mentioned the work of the Human Trafficking Task Force consisting of the Michigan State Police, Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

Garnsey added, “I would also like to add that at least one of these victims has taken the opportunity to turn their life completely around. The fact that we were involved in positively impacting the lives of others and rescuing them is something we are very proud of.”

Wayland police, during a search of Grigsby’s home said they found what they believe to be cocaine and heroin, as well as electronic devices containing evidence of drug and sex crimes.

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