5 arrested after undercover human trafficking, prostitution operation in Robeson County, NC

ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WPDE) — During an undercover operation on Friday, Oct. 1 five men were arrested in Robeson County and charged with solicitation of prostitution.

The Sheriff’s Office said the operation was to identify potential victims of human trafficking and persons engaging in illegal prostitution. 

The identified females were given the opportunity to speak with Sheriff Burnis Wilkins, Sgt. Hollis McNeill and a Peer Support Specialist from Robeson Health Care Corporation (RHCC) about a variety of programs that will assist them with fighting their addictions and improving their lifestyles. 

TRENDING: Police investigating 2nd fight in a week at Marlboro County High School

While this seems small to some, this special operation would bring tears to your eyes if you could have heard these ladies stories,” officials said. “The best part is, we are helping them. To the guys seeking to use females that are battling their own demons, go somewhere else. That lady you may be speaking to might just be an undercover officer as some saw last night.

According to a release, Francisco Hidalgo Tixteco, 44, Mica Mcdonald, 43, Luis Miguel Hidalgo, 24, of Raeford and Henry Stephens, 65, of St. Pauls were arrested and charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. They were each placed in the custody of the Robeson County Detention Center with a $1,000 secured bond. 

Charles Wall, 45, of Raeford was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution, possession of stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Wall was placed in the custody of the Robeson County Detention Center with a $15,000 secured bond.

“I am excited about the newly developed partnership with the Robeson County District’s Attorney Office, Robeson County Judges and other agencies in the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program,” Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said. “The program allows individuals with low-level offenses to enter alternative programs instead of going through the prosecution process and receiving active sentences. The programs will allow the individuals to seek help for their addictions and reduce recidivism in our criminal justice system. The Sheriff’s Office currently has two (2) deputies assigned to the program and will soon be adding a Peer Specialist. The benefits of the program have already been seen and there will be many more success stories to come.”

Lumberton Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) assisted with the operation.

Anyone with information about human trafficking and/or illegal prostitution is asked to contact the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 671-3170 or (910) 671-3100.



Class action lawsuit filed against The Citadel in Salisbury, site of NC’s largest COVID-19 outbreak

Class action lawsuit filed against The Citadel in Salisbury, site of NC’s largest COVID-19 outbreak

Class action lawsuit filed against the Citadel congregate living facility

By David Whisenant | May 17, 2021 at 4:49 PM EDT – Updated May 17 at 6:43 PM

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – A class action lawsuit was filed on Monday in Rowan County on behalf of two residents of The Citadel and members of their families. The suit was filed by Wallace & Graham of Salisbury.
The Citadel is a congregate-care facility located on Julian Road in Salisbury and was the site of the largest COVID-19 outbreak in the state last year.
There were 189 COVID-19 infections at The Citadel and 18 COVID-19 deaths, according to records in Rowan County.

The defendants in the case are The Citadel, Salisbury Two NC Propco LLC, a limited liability company organized under North Carolina law, with a principal place of business at 710 Julian Road, Accordius Health LLC, The Portopiccolo Group LLC, Simcha Hyman, and Naftali Zanziper, both listed as “sole members of The Portopiccolo Group LLC.”

Family member of 80-year-old COVID-19 positive resident at Citadel-Salisbury frustrated with level of care

The allegations involve “severe systematic understaffing at the Citadel nursing home.”
The suit also says the plaintiffs paid for staffing and didn’t receive the services they were promised.

The suit says that conditions at The Citadel when it was known as Genesis, were poor, and that they got even worse when the facility was purchased by the private equity firm Portopiccolo on February 1, 2020.

“The conditions at the facility grew worse as Genesis sought to cut costs and divest assets to satisfy its loan obligations. Genesis suffered financial reverses and became indebted to a private equity parent called Formation Capital.

By 2014, Genesis was paying more than $750 million a year on interest, rent, and transaction fees and interest rates as high as 22.2 percent on some of its credit lines,” the suit alleges.

Defendants Hyman and Zanziper, “while being aware of the dire conditions at the Facility, made no efforts to require Genesis to upgrade conditions prior to the sale. On the contrary, during this time Hyman and Zanziper were assuring prospective lenders that they would be able to cut millions of dollars of costs even after acquiring the new facilities.”
Cost savings would come about as a result of cuts to staffing and saving “$360,000 by lowering expenses associated with employee benefits and insurance and $410,000 by cutting equipment and transportation costs.”

These cuts compromised the care of residents, according to the lawsuit.
“Nursing staff found themselves working in chaotic. Hyman and Zanziper cut off contracts of vendors Genesis had used. The facility’s situation worsened as the new owners refused to carry forward paid time off and other pay and benefit agreements that Genesis had in place. Many staff left the Facility, no longer willing to work there. These events occurred at the Citadel in February 2020 before the advent of COVID-19 at the Facility, nor can Defendants blame COVID-19 for their actions.”

There are also details in the lawsuit alleging that one of the plaintiffs, a resident at The Citadel, asked why her roommate wasn’t quarantined in April 2020 despite having a fever and cough. The resident said staff told to “keep her curtain pulled” in case her roommate had COVID.
That same resident was also allegedly given an incorrect dosage for her diagnosed cardiac condition, atrial fibrillation. Later, the resident says that when she received her medications that night, “she had a different pill in place of one of her normal heart medications. She questioned it and the nurse assured her it was the correct one. She finally took the pill. A later review of her chart, however, reflected that her prescribed dose was 10 mg yet the dose she was administered was 40 mg.”

The lawsuit wants The Citadel’s parent company to pay residents and their families damages.

Continue reading “Class action lawsuit filed against The Citadel in Salisbury, site of NC’s largest COVID-19 outbreak”