37-year-old caught in undercover sex trafficking sting
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A warrant for rapper and former MTV star Kevin Barnes, also known as “Chopper,” claims he communicated with an undercover investigator as part of a sex trafficking sting.
Barnes, 37, appeared on the TV show “Making The Band.”
On March 29, an undercover Las Vegas Metro police officer received a message from Barnes’ Instagram account with emojis frequently used to indicate prostitution, investigators said. Police also noted, “Barnes has a public Instagram account where he has numerous posts relating to the prostitution lifestyle.”
Police said Barnes had posted several photos of himself flaunting his wealth, including photos with money and expensive items, they said.
Due to Barnes’ social media accounts, police suspected he was using his profile to “recruit victims of sex trafficking [and] pandering to engage in prostitution for him,” police said.
Beginning that same day and continuing through March 30, police said they messaged Barnes on Instagram about working for him as a prostitute.
“I’m hitting cities running it up… you shouldn’t be in Vegas trap’n tho,” Barnes said, according to police. Police noted “trap is a common term used to refer to making money.”
Barnes called the undercover investigator on March 30, saying he was not currently in Las Vegas, but that he has a home here. Police described the conversation as a “phone interview” before “he was going to elevate [her].”
When the undercover investigator said she was nervous to travel and meet Barnes, he reportedly became upset and yelled at her on the phone.
Barnes allegedly told the undercover investigator that she should not “be scared of going to jail” and that his “screening program works.”
A warrant for Barnes’ arrest was issued on April 8. Las Vegas police took him into custody Monday on one charge of sex trafficking.
In court Tuesday, Judge Karen Bennett-Haron released him on his own recognizance.
Police noted they believe they may be more victims.