North Little Rock man arrested in connection with sex trafficking, police say

Damion Gunnells

SPRINGDALE — Police say a North Little Rock man was arrested Tuesday after a woman reported she was being held against her will at a local hotel and forced to prostitute herself.

Damion Gunnells, 33, of 7010 E. 46th St. in North Little Rock, was arrested in connection with human trafficking, commercial sex acts; false imprisonment; assault on a family member; possession of drugs with intent to deliver; and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was being held Wednesday in the Washington County Detention Center with no bond set.

According to a police report, officers were sent to the Fairfield Inn & Suites at 1043 Rieff St. when a manager called the police saying a woman was staying with a man was being forced to prostitute herself. The manager, who was not identified, told police the man renting the room, identified as Gunnells, was leaving the hotel in a Chevrolet Impala. The manager said the woman involved was hiding in another room at the hotel.

The woman told officers she had been dating Gunnells and he had been taking her across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas and forcing her to have sex in exchange for money, according to the report. The woman reportedly told police she gave Gunnells the money and "if she behaves she is allowed to smoke narcotics."

The woman told police she had tried to leave but Gunnells always finds her and demands she go with him. She told the officers she was afraid Gunnells will hurt her family or friends if she does not stay with him.

While officers were speaking to Gunnells, they smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car, according to the report. During a search of the vehicle, officers found a gray tube containing a bag of a white substance that appeared to be methamphetamine, a yellow pill believed to be ecstasy; and two bags of marijuana. A clear glass pipe with what appeared to be methamphetamine residue was also found. The white substance and yellow pill were tested in the field and both tested positive for methamphetamine/amphetamine, according to the report.

While being interviewed, Gunnells denied any wrongdoing and then requested an attorney. Police said the investigation is continuing.