Today's Paper Latest The Article Story ideas Core Values iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
ADVERTISEMENT

Fayetteville man arrested in sex trafficking investigation

by Tom Sissom | June 9, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
Najja Phillips

FAYETTEVILLE -- A Fayetteville man was arrested Monday in connection with sex trafficking of a minor after FBI agents and local law enforcement officers searched his home.

Najja Phillips, 26, of 3259 W. Jewell Road, was arrested in connection with transporting a minor for prohibited sexual conduct and sexual assault. He was being held Tuesday in the Washington County Detention Center on $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Washington County Circuit Court on June 21.

Connor Hagan, spokesman for the FBI office in Little Rock, confirmed Phillips was the target of a search spanning several hours Monday.

"That's who we were looking for," Hagan said. "We arrested him and did a search of his residence."

Hagan said Tuesday the FBI wasn't releasing any other information about Phillips and said the case will be filed in state court, not in federal court.

An arrest warrant for Phillips was filed in Washington County Circuit Court on May 25 and listed four counts of trafficking of minor persons, a Class Y felony, and one count of sexual assault, a Class D felony. According to state law, a Class Y felony carries a range of penalties from 10 to 40 years or life in prison. Class D felonies carry a penalty of up to six years in prison.

A probable cause affidavit for the arrest warrant says a girl younger than 16 was interviewed at the Children's Safety Center in Springdale and described how Phillips recruited her to work for him as a prostitute.

The girl said she took photos of herself at Phillips' direction, and she was advertised on a website to make "dates" for her. The girl said Phillips' phone was used exclusively in making the arrangements.

The girl said she met Phillips through other girls who worked as prostitutes for him, and he pressured her into having sex with him and into working as a prostitute.

The investigators identified eight advertisements on the website for the girl, with one in Fayetteville, one in Bentonville and six in Springfield, Mo., according to the affidavit. Investigators found at least one hotel reservation made by Phillips in Springfield, Mo. The hotel staff was able to provide investigators with a photo of Phillips and the girl in the hotel lobby.

The affidavit also details phone conversations in which Phillips asked the girl to prepare an account on the website for another girl and some details of the work she was doing for Phillips. According to the affidavit, investigators identified another seven individuals who were advertised on the website using Phillips' phone.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT