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Unadilla Township man heads to trial on human trafficking charges

A Unadilla Township man has been bound over for trial on multiple felony charges related to human trafficking.

53-year-old Daryl Lanzon was arrested by Unadilla Township Police on May 26th after the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office issued a multiple count felony warrant that included four counts of sexual assault, unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or by strangulation, human trafficking and using a computer to commit a crime. 

In court last week, he was bound over to Livingston County Circuit Court on all eight counts and remains jailed on a $500,000 bond.

According to Unadilla Township Police Chief David Russell, the arrest was the culmination of an investigation that began in March of 2022 when his department received a tip from the FBI about possible human trafficking.

“The investigation revealed that Lanzon had befriended the victim, who is more than 20 years younger than himself, via social media,” stated a press release. “He was able to isolate the victim from her family and put himself in a position to be her only means of emotional and financial support.  He manipulated her into performing sex shows online in order to support them.  The suspect kept the proceeds for himself.”

Lanzon is alleged to have taken the victim to multiple states over a period of several years before settling in Michigan. The victim was said to be afraid to leave due to threats to harm her and her family.  After being subjected to these threats for another five years, police say she was able to escape in 2020. 

“It took a couple of more years before she was ready to talk about what happened to her and she called the National Human Trafficking Hotline.  The victim wanted to ensure that this would not happen to someone else,” stated the release.

A search warrant was executed at the suspect’s residence by Unadilla Township Police with the assistance of Pinckney Police, Michigan State Police Emergency Services Team, ATF, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center (MIOC).

Lanzon was arrested at that time on unrelated weapons charges.  Court records show he was on probation at the time for a 2022 Livingston County conviction of being a felon in possession of a weapon. He was also convicted in 2018 for carrying a concealed weapon.

Multiple weapons, computers, cameras, and other related equipment were seized from the residence, while additional search warrants were obtained to examine the electronic devices. 

The Unadilla Township Police Department recognized Investigator Ryan Hamlin for his work on what was called a “complicated case.”

 Chief David Russell added that human trafficking is known to be a part of the sex trade, but can include other kinds of forced labor. 

“It is more common that people want to believe,” he said.  “Nobody likes to think that it can happen in their neighborhood, or to their friends and family, but it can.  Signs of human trafficking can include a person being disconnected from friends, family, school and social activities, pronounced changes in behavior, confusion, signs of mental or physical abuse, acting timid or submissive, being denied food, water or medication, deferring to someone who seems to control their activities and who they talk to, and a lack of their own personal possessions.  If you suspect human trafficking, contact the police in your area or contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline, humantraffickinghotline.org or 888-373-7888.”

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