Bush man, son arrested in ‘human trafficking’ case

Published 3:55 am Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A bail bondsman and his adult son business partner, operating out of offices in Covington and Amite have both been arrested on multiple state charges stemming from a joint human trafficking investigation led by the Louisiana State Police and FBI.

Trooper Dustin Dwight of the LSP said that on Friday, March 15, at approximately 8:30 a.m., troopers from Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Special Victims Unit, along with members of the FBI New Orleans Field Office arrested 53-year-old James E. Johnson Jr. of Bush. Johnson has been booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail for violation of two counts of human trafficking, two counts of first degree rape, and one count of sexual battery.

Knight said that the investigation began in March, when detectives received information that Johnson had solicited sexual favors from multiple victims in exchange for bond debt relief. Based on evidence obtained, detectives executed five search warrants at various businesses and properties in Covington and Amite. Detectives seized 27 firearms from Johnson’s residence and businesses. Johnson was arrested without incident at his office in Covington Friday morning and was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail.

During the course of executing the search warrant at a business in Amite, investigators discovered evidence of pornography involving juveniles, Dwight said. The discovery led to the arrest of Johnson’s 31 year-old son Patrick Johnson, who is also a bail bondsman. Patrick Johnson was booked into the Amite Jail with three counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles.

Dwight said that the investigation is ongoing, and additional arrests and charges may be forthcoming. Detectives believe that there is potential for additional unreported victims.

Anyone with any information pertaining to this case is encouraged to contact the Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit at 504-310-7000.