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Human Trafficking Suspect Mistakenly Released From OKC Jail

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Philip Gatson III mug shot. [Photo Courtesy: Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office] Philip Gatson III mug shot. [Photo Courtesy: Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office]
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A 24-year-old man suspected of human trafficking is mistakenly released from jail. He's accused of prostituting out young girls. Philip Gatson III has a long rap sheet and is now back behind bars.

Just off Northwest Expressway sits a Holiday Inn Express where investigators say Gatson arranged express sexual encounters with underage girls. The latest victim is just 17 years old.

Court documents state an undercover officer met with the girl at the hotel after contacting her through an online escort ad. She agreed to "provide the undercover officer with sexual intercourse for a fee of two hundred dollars."

She also admitted to police Gatson was her pimp, and he was the one who posted ads for her online. A site he is known to use is backpage.com, but Gatson isn't new to this game.

“Sadly enough, you’ll find these young pimps sometimes doing it over and over and over,” said Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrel Weaver. “You have to remember with some it’s a way of life.”

Back in January, Gatson was arrested at an Oklahoma City gas station for the same thing. He was taken to jail for human trafficking, but court documents say he was "mistakenly released from jail."

Oklahoma City police say the mistake was made by a civilian employee of the Oklahoma City Police Department and was a coding issue. News 9 obtained the release order given to the jail, and at the bottom it states, "ok to release." Oklahoma City police say the release meant a release from one of Gatson's charges and not a release from jail. Gatson was arrested shortly afterward the incident. He has since been picked up again for pimping out Oklahoma teens.

“They may be arrested for pimping, get out of jail and go back multiple times,” Weaver said.

Nobody answered the door at Gatson's home. He was taken into custody last night on his most recent human trafficking charges. Gatson has a slew of prior charges including human trafficking and first degree rape.

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