Three up, three down.
A Magistrate Court judge has dismissed the charge for the third defendant this week to answer a charge of attempted human trafficking, citing that there was no coercion or deception involved.
Sambo Kong, 29, of Athens, appeared Friday morning in Magistrate Court for a committal hearing related to an undercover prostitution sting earlier this month.
Kong allegedly responded to a woman’s ad on Backpage.com about selling sex, Gainesville Police Detective Gordon Hendry said.
“During this encounter, the agent told him that she was 14 years old multiple times. He agreed to come from Athens where he was at and meet with the undercover agent,” Hendry said.
When Kong made his way to Athens, police arrested him in a Subway parking lot on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.
Kong’s attorney Graham McKinnon asked Hendry if there was any coercion, threat or deception involved in the alleged plan of sex for money. Hendry said there was not.
Hendry said the decision to charge the men involved in the sting with human trafficking came after a meeting with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
“Looking at the code section, it appears that the trafficking persons for sexual servitude requires an actual person, unlike enticing, which involves a belief of someone underage,” Assistant District Attorney Bill Akins said.
Kong’s two other charges of attempted child molestation and pandering moved on to Superior Court.
“The state will charge it — trafficking — however they charge it when it goes to grand jury,” said Magistrate Court Judge Margaret Gregory.
Clifford Allen Nash, 37, of Commerce and Aaron Clayton Boone, 32, of Cleveland both had their charges reduced to electronic enticement of a minor Monday at their committal hearings.
Five area men in total were charged between Oct. 9-10 for human trafficking. David Bryan Bryant, 48, of Gainesville and Sagarkumar Chetankumar Patel, 22, of Oakwood waived their committal hearings.