U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Florida
(305) 961-9001
December 16, 2014

Key Largo Man Arraigned on Charges of Sex Trafficking of Minors

Key Largo resident and former overnight staff member of the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter was arraigned for his alleged role in sex trafficking of two minor female residents of the shelter.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney, and Rick Ramsay, Sheriff, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, made the announcement.

Ricky Jermaine Atkins, 28, and co-defendant Sandra Simon, 23, of Homestead, were previously charged with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking of minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1591(a)(1) and 1594(c). Atkins was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes. The court ordered that Atkins be detained pending trial.

According to the facts presented at today’s detention hearing, Atkins met the two minor female residents of the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter in Tavernier. In August 2014, he drove the victims from Tavernier to a motel in the Homestead area, where he introduced the minors to Simon. Atkins left the minors in the motel with Simon, who photographed them and arranged for them to conduct prostitution dates. During the several days that the minors stayed with Simon, Atkins visited them on multiple occasions, including once to pick up money that was earned during their prostitution, and once to drop off a cellular telephone. After several days, the two minors left Simon’s custody and traveled with another adult couple to Sarasota County, where they were recovered by law enforcement after a hit-and-run traffic accident.

Simon is currently in state custody and is scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court on December 19, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., before Judge Otazo-Reyes.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and North Port Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth M. Schlessinger and Elina A. Rubin-Smith.

An indictment is only an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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