Mississippi Case Shows How FBI and Partner Agencies Work to Stop Traffickers, Help Victims

Human trafficking is a crime that hides in plain sight. Often, it simply takes an astute police officer, hotel worker, or bystander to notice and speak up—and save a victim.

That’s what happened when an officer with the Oxford (Mississippi) Police Department pulled over a suspected drunk driver and passengers one night in March 2018.

During the stop, the officer—recalling training he and his department previously received from the FBI—detected signs of human trafficking. So he contacted his department’s human trafficking investigator as well as the FBI.

They quickly determined that one of the passengers in the car was a 17-year-old girl who’d been advertised on a prostitution website. The driver, Edward Earl Daniels, was her trafficker. He met the girl, who’d run away from home, through his son. Daniels had likely been trafficking her for about two weeks.

“The FBI was instrumental in this investigation because they were able to search the phones immediately after we obtained the search warrant. It allowed us to get an accurate picture of what was going on,” said Oxford Police Department Investigator Chad Carwile.

While investigators gathered ample evidence from Daniels’ car and hotel room, the cell phone evidence was key to making the case. Although law enforcement is increasingly unable to access crucial evidence on encrypted devices, investigators lawfully accessed the phone in this case.

“It was all spelled out on the phone—text messages between Daniels and the victim. The phone was a textbook indication of human trafficking,” said FBI Special Agent C. Ryan Berthay. At the time of the investigation, Berthay was a Mississippi Attorney General’s Office agent working on an FBI task force out of the Jackson Field Office.

Daniels pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges last May and was sentenced in November to 15 years in prison.

Although January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the FBI takes a collaborative, victim-centered approach to its trafficking cases every day of the year. Both of those elements were clear in this investigation.

“The most instrumental part of these cases are the local officers,” Berthay said. “They are the foot soldiers who recognize trafficking and make sure we can gather crucial evidence right away.”

In the Mississippi case, the teenage victim was offered counseling and other resources by the FBI’s victim specialists, as is customary for trafficking victims.

“I kept in touch with the victim and her mother throughout the process,” Carwile said. “Victim services has been with her, and she’s had the opportunity to go through some counseling. In this case, as is with a lot of these cases, it’s an ongoing process to help these women and children move forward with their lives.”

Read more at the FBI

(Visited 175 times, 1 visits today)

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

Leave a Reply

Latest from Exclude from Homepage

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has selected Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark and Boston-based autonomous technology developer Sea Machines to supply an autonomous test vessel to the USCG Research and Development Center (RDC). The welded-aluminum 29 Defiant craft is the latest product of Metal Shark’s “Sharktech Autonomous Vessels” division to be equipped with Sea Machines SM300 autonomous-command and remote-helm technology. The new vessel offers a full range of advanced capabilities including transit autonomy, collaborative autonomy, active ride control and collision avoidance, and remote control vessel monitoring. As the Coast Guard’s primary facility performing research, development, and test evaluation in support of the service’s major missions, the RDC helps to transition innovative technologies into the USCG’s operational forces. During exercises scheduled for October off the coast of Hawaii, the RDC team will test and evaluate the Sharktech vessel’s autonomous capabilities for their potential in supporting USCG surveillance, interdiction, patrol, and other missions. The new vessel will then be homeported at the RDC’s facility in New London, CT. “Since the launch of our Sharktech Autonomous Vessels division in 2018 we have been working to position Metal Shark for the autonomy revolution,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “We are committed to the advancement of autonomous technology, through our relationships with leading autonomy suppliers as well as through our own R&D, and we are engaged with multiple customers, from the USCG, the Department of Defense, and commercial operators. With this latest delivery, Metal Shark is proud to play a role in the Coast Guard’s autonomous technology R&D efforts.” “Sea Machines is proud to actively support the Department of Defense across a variety of projects, including this important demonstration being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Sea Machines’ Phil Bourque, director, sales. “Our systems are being rapidly adopted by government and commercial operators alike, offering increases in on-water productivity and predictability, while reducing operational risk.”

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has selected Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark
Go to Top
X
X