Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Two Individuals Arrested on Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

WASHINGTON – Two men have been arrested and charged in an indictment unsealed today with crimes related to sex trafficking, Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Jane W. Duke announced.

Tommy Handy, aka "Tom Tom" and his nephew, Everett Cooney, aka "Bear," were indicted by a federal grand jury in Little Rock, Ark., for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking for their roles in using force, fraud and coercion to cause juvenile girls and adult women to engage in commercial sex acts. Handy and Cooney allegedly benefitted financially from the conspiracy, which took place from January 2002 to May 2008. Handy was also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

If convicted, Handy and Cooney both face a maximum sentence of life in prison and fines of more than $1 million.

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

The prosecution of human trafficking offenses is a top priority of the Justice Department.  In Fiscal Year 2008, the Department filed a record number of both labor trafficking and sex trafficking cases.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe J. Volpe and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Jim Felte. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.

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