Doreze Marvin Beals leaving the Dartmouth provincial courthouse on Monday.
The head of the Halifax integrated vice unit says the case involving two young men and a laundry list of criminal charges is one that makes cops “stand back and take note.”
Doreze Marvin Beals and Andre Jerome Gray appeared in Dartmouth provincial court Monday, facing charges that include human trafficking, kidnapping, sexual assault and gang sexual assault.
The two 18-year-olds were arrested after RCMP allege a 15-year-old girl was held against her will in a North Preston home and sexually assaulted.
Det. Andrew Matthews said the number and gravity of the charges is “extraordinary.”
“Those are not your run of the mill charges,” he said. “We take them very seriously.”
Police were called to North Preston for a reports of shots fired at a home on Clarence Street just before 9 p.m. April 10. They found the young victim, who told police she’d been held in the basement of another home on the street for two days before she’d escaped.
One of the two suspects was arrested in the area April 10 . The second was arrested a day later in Windsor.
Matthews said in 14 years as a police officer, he’s never seen the charge of gang sexual assault.
He said investigators are considering the possibility the girl was going to be forced into prostitution.
“That is one of the elements of the human trafficking (charge,)” he said, adding it’s possible the two accused weren’t acting alone. “I think due to the nature of the charges, with human trafficking, I think police have to look at the possibility that there is a network involved.”
Matthews said it’s very early in the investigation, and it’s not clear whether more charges will be laid.
“We’re going to be talking to people that may or may not have involvement as witnesses or suspects, and that’s yet to be determined,” he said. “This could take many weeks to wrap up…We have to be very thorough.”
Matthews said one of the most striking aspects of the case is the young age of not only the victim, but the two accused.
“That’s tragic too,” he said. “It’s one of those that police officers, no matter how much time they have on, they stand back and take note.”
Beals and Gray are scheduled to appear in Dartmouth provincial court on Wednesday morning for a bail hearing.