BELTON — The Bell County Sheriff’s Department Special Crimes Unit helped pinpoint the location of an absconded sex offender wanted by the Dallas Police Department.
It wasn’t until Thursday that the Dallas agency issued its arrest warrant for Billy Danzel Shell, 30, for failure to comply with sex offender registration — and that was only after SCU Lt. Michele Cianci alerted Dallas Police that Shell had been living in the Bell County area and was arrested for trafficking of persons.
Until that information was shared, the Dallas Police Department didn’t know Shell’s location.
“It was due to our reporting that Dallas Police Department issued the arrest warrant,” Cianci said.
Cianci also sent a copy of her own report to Dallas Police.
Shell and an Arlington woman, Tatyana Clemens, were arrested and charged with human sex trafficking during a three-day sting conducted by Bell County and other law enforcement agencies.
Clemens was released May 9 and Shell May 10 by the Bell County Jail after it was notified they weren’t immediately being held on the trafficking of persons charge in Bell County. The Bell County District Attorney’s office needed more information and proof — and that is what the SCU is in the process of getting, Cianci said.
The Special Crimes Unit is in the process of gathering more evidence to help create an even stronger case against the alleged traffickers.
Shell was convicted in July 2008 of the aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl, records showed. He was paroled after serving eight years in prison and was placed on mandatory supervision, the Texas Department of Public Safety sex offender registry indicated.
The registry indicated Shell had a low risk of offending again and had to register annually for the rest of his life.
It apparently was sometime after April 16 that Shell disappeared from the Dallas Police Department’s radar, and the absconded status was listed for Shell on May 16.
During the May sting in Killeen, nine women were rescued from the suspected traffickers. They were ages 18 to 25, Cianci said. Seven women were from Killeen, but one was from Dallas and another was from Asia.
Of those nine, four women accepted offers from Unbound, national director Susan Peters said.
Of the 15 arrested and charged with various roles in the trafficking operation, 14 were men and one was a woman.
In addition to Clemens and Shell, three men were arrested for allegedly promoting prostitution and 10 men were arrested for soliciting prostitutes.
This is the fourth sting Bell County Sheriff’s Department has led, and each has yielded significant arrests of those seeking prostitutes. Three previous stings were conducted online with the participation and cooperation of other agencies, including those in Bell, McLennan and Travis counties.
This was the first sting that targeted the traffickers and those assisting them. Catching the 10 “johns” was a bonus, Maj. T.J. Cruz said.
The Special Crimes Unit, along with other Bell County law enforcement agencies, is on the offensive to help victims, put offenders behind bars and boot human sex trafficking out of Central Texas.