Family arrested in possible prostitution ring

Johnny Thornton and Tina Tucker

July 7, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Johnston County authorities have made arrests in a possible prostitution ring involving underage girls.

Deputies arrested Tina Tucker Friday. Her 62-year-old father-in-law -- a Vietnam veteran -- Johnny Franklin Thornton, also is in custody.

According to WTSB Radio, Thornton, who lives in the Newton Grove community of Bentonville, was arrested Thursday.

He had been under investigation since February 25 when the Johnston County Department of Social Services alerted investigators.

Detectives say Tucker may have received cash for supplying underage women and according to arrest warrants, the operation was a family affair.

Investigators confirm there was a relationship between the family and a teenager.

"There are a lot of questions that's why we're continuing to investigate," Chief Deputy Bengie Gaddis said.

Captain A.C. Strickland told WTSB the alleged incidents involved a 15-year-old girl, who is 16 now, and occurred over a two-year period.

Thornton faces 17 criminal charges. He is charged with 10 counts of statutory rape/sex offense, two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of felony conspiracy, one count of taking indecent liberties with a minor, one count of felony assault by strangulation, and one count of assault on a female.

Tucker also faces multiple felonies.

He is being held in the Johnston County Jail under a $1,001,000 bond. Authorities say more charges may follow.

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