News and Press Releases

Former Fugitive Indicted for Domestic Child Trafficking

September 29 , 2011

Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the return by a grand jury of an indictment charging Eric A. Bell (37,Tampa) with four counts of conspiracy to entice a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, four counts of enticing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, three counts of production of child pornography, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted on all counts, Bell faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Bell that the United States intends to forfeit numerous items of electronic media, and firearms seized from Bell's residence.

According to the indictment, Bell, along with a co-conspirator, enticed four minor victims to engage in prostitution. Bell and his co-conspirator lived off of the prostitution proceeds. Bell produced child pornography of the four minors and possessed multiple firearms after being convicted of a felony offense.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacie B. Harris.


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