St. Joseph Truck Driver, Sex Offender Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Transporting a Minor for Prostitution
KANSAS CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a St. Joseph, Mo., commercial truck driver who is a registered sex offender was sentenced in federal court today for transporting a minor across state lines for prostitution.
Tony Eugene Wardlow, 56, of St. Joseph, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to 20 years and 10 months in federal prison without parole.
Wardlow was convicted at trial on Dec. 17, 2014, of transporting a minor across state lines for prostitution. Wardlow also pleaded guilty on Feb. 14, 2014, to interstate transportation for prostitution.
Wardlow was self-employed as a commercial truck driver, doing business as Prideco, LLC. Wardlow is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 1997 in Nodaway County, Mo., of sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual misconduct (involving two separate child victims). Wardlow also has prior felony convictions for being a felon in possession of firearms and possessing methamphetamine.
Evidence submitted during the trial indicated that Wardlow paid the minor victim for sex on multiple occasions while she was working as a prostitute on Independence Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. She was under 18 years of age at this time. Wardlow took her out of town in his truck on several occasions, including a trip to Texas in September 2011. During the trip, Wardlow engaged in prostitution activity with the minor victim multiple times, both in Wardlow’s truck and in hotels.
The minor victim testified at trial that Wardlow threatened her with violence. There was evidence presented at trial that Wardlow made threats towards this victim should she ever contact law enforcement.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Daly and David Luna. It was investigated by the FBI, the Prairie Village, Kan., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Overland Park, Kan., Police Department in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.