Two Roscommon Co. Men Behind Bars for Human Trafficking

“I’m always asked ‘is it here?’ and yes it is here. It just looks different,” said Linda Solem, the president of Community Compassion TC.

A woman caught stealing a car led to the arrest of two men for human trafficking.

Michigan State Police arrested James Jarrell and Jeffrey Kobel.

Both are 50 years old.

Police made the human trafficking arrests Friday at a home on Roberta Drive in Crawford County’s South Branch Township.

“We got the call from the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department that they had a woman who had reportedly stolen a vehicle,” said Lt. Derrick Carroll.

That woman told police she had been abducted and forced into prostitution.

That’s when the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Michigan State Police.

“We worked on the case all day for probable cause for a search warrant working with the prosecutor’s office because she also indicated that there was possibly making methamphetamines in the residence,” said Carroll.

The state police emergency support team went into the home and arrested two men.

James Jarrell is charged with sexual assault.

Jeffrey Kobel is charged with unlawful imprisonment.

Both are being charged as repeat offenders.

“She didn’t know the men up north. She was very scared. She was nervous. She thought her life was going to end if she didn’t escape,” said Carroll.

While she was successful at escaping this time, it wasn’t her first attempt.

“She had managed to get them to stop at a test area. Her plan was to escape but one of the men followed her to the restroom, waiting outside the door and then brought her back to the vehicle,” said Carroll.

Community Compassion is a resource in the Traverse City area who says they applaud this woman on her escape.

“Now she would have confidence in knowing that she was going to be helped,” said Solem.

She says education in human trafficking is so important because it happens everywhere.

Solem also says there are red flags to look out for to spot potential victims.

“Not giving eye contact. Not having any identification. Not having an address that they can refer to. Being with somebody who’s other than they are that does all the talking for them,” said Solem.

For resources on human trafficking, click here.