3 men arrested on human trafficking charges after showing up at hotel to meet minor

Men arrested in KY online sting

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Police have arrested three men in Paducah, Kentucky after the men arrived at a hotel to meet a minor female for sex.

According to Paducah Police Department, Ray Hall Wright Jr., 65, of Mayfield, Kentucky, James Christian Cunkelman, 42 of Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Austin Lee Gish, 24, of Many, Louisiana, were arrested on charges of promoting human trafficking (victim less than 18 years of age) and use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor for sex offenses.

Police said the men were arrested Thursday, Feb. 7 when they showed up at a local motel, expecting to meet a girl less than 18 years of age for sex.

An operation conducted by the Paducah Police Department in cooperation with the Kentucky Attorney General’s office led officials to advertisements offering “sex for sale.”

According to Det. Capt. Matt Smith, detectives found that more than 200 advertisements in the Paducah area were placed online between Dec. 29, 2018, and Jan. 28, 2019. Several of those clearly involved young people less than 18 years of age.

Police said several men responded to an online ad and expressed their interest in having sex with an under-age female.

The men were actually communicating with female Paducah police officers. Police said when the men learned the “girls" were less than 18 they hung up or stopped responding to text messages.

According to police, in Kentucky, hiring a person less than 18 years of age for sex, whether or not that minor gives consent, is considered promoting human trafficking, a Class C felony.

Wright Jr., Cunkelman and Gish were booked into the McCracken County Regional Jail. Their bonds have not been set.

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