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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Cleveland man charged with allegedly shooting at agents further charged with sex trafficking of a juvenile and producing child pornography

Reuben Rankin, 34, was charged in a superseding indictment with one count of sex trafficking of a juvenile and one count of production of child pornography. 

These charges come in addition to Rankin’s pending federal charges for assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

The first three charges were brought after Rankin allegedly fired six shots at federal agents during the execution of a search warrant on a house on Dove Avenue in Cleveland.

A federal grand jury has now returned a superseding indictment adding two additional charges for sex trafficking of a juvenile and production of child pornography. 

The superseding indictment alleges that between “in or about May 2019 and in or about September 2019, Rankin did knowingly recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, maintain, patronize, and solicit by any means a minor under the age of 18 years, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that means of force, threats of force, fraud and coercion would be used to cause the minor to engage in a commercial sex act, and that the minor had not attained the age of 18 years and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act. 

The superseding indictment further alleges that during that time, Rankin did employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case, which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ranya Elzein.

A charge is only an allegation and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Bridget M. Brennan (216) 622-3810 bridget.brennan@usdoj.gov
Updated January 16, 2020