Third Defendant Arraigned in Child Exploitation Case
GAINESVILLE, FL—Ranell Carter Jr., 24, the last of three defendants charged in a federal sex trafficking indictment, was arraigned yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville. The indictment was announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The indictment alleges that, between August and December 2014, Carter, Hal Bernard Black, 20, and Tawanda LaKaye Burkett, 39, all of Gainesville, Florida, knowingly enticed a person less than 18 years of age to engage in a commercial sex act and that they financially benefited from a sex trafficking venture. Carter was arrested on Saturday as a result of a traffic stop, and Black and Burkett were arrested in June.
This case resulted from investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Gainesville Police Department, and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Williams.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.