New York Residents Charged with Sex Trafficking of Minors
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 03, 2014|
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned an indictment charging Edward Thomas, also known as “Fire,” 39, and Kayla Walters, 22, both of New York, with offenses related to the sex trafficking of minors.
The indictment alleges that, between September 2012 and August 2013, Thomas and Walters conspired to recruit, harbor and transport a minor to engage in commercial acts. The indictment further alleges that Thomas also recruited, harbored, and transported a second minor to engage in commercial sex acts.
The indictment was returned under seal on February 24, 2014, and Thomas and Walters were arrested on February 28 at a hotel in Milford, Connecticut. They appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and were ordered detained.
Thomas and Walters are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, and Thomas is charged with two counts and Walters with one count of sex trafficking of a minor. If convicted of the charges, both defendants face a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Stratford and Milford Police Departments have assisted the investigation.
The Connecticut Child Exploitation Task Force, which is housed at the main FBI office in New Haven, investigates crimes against children occurring over the Internet, and provides computer forensic review services for participating agencies. For more information about the Task Force, or to report child exploitation crimes, please contact the FBI at 203-777-6311.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Novick.