Missouri Man Ordered Detained On Federal Human Trafficking Charges
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Stephen Ardrey, 30, of Springfield, Mo., was ordered detained today by U.S District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan during his initial appearance in federal court on charges of sex trafficking children and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Ardrey was taken into federal custody on Thursday as a result of information developed during an investigation by the Coventry and West Greenwich, R.I., Police Departments, Medfield, Mass., Police Department, and agents from Homeland Security Investigations into the disappearance of a 17-year-old female who was reported missing on September 9, 2013, from the town of Medfield and who was located on Thursday in Coventry, R.I.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha acknowledged the outstanding efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island and Massachusetts working collaboratively to ensure the safe return of the victim to her family and for their efforts which led to the arrest and detention of Stephen Ardrey.
In addition, U.S. Attorney Neronha acknowledged and thanked the individual who alerted Coventry Police when he happened upon the victim and the defendant as they walked along a Coventry roadway. “This individual’s quick response by notifying law enforcement was paramount to putting an end to the anguish the victim’s family was experiencing not knowing their daughter’s whereabouts. By smartly alerting law enforcement, he furthered the investigation which led to the arrest and detention of the defendant.”
If convicted of sex trafficking children and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, Ardrey faces statutory penalties of a minimum mandatory 10 years up to life in federal prison; 5 years to lifetime supervised release following imprisonment; and up to a fine of $250,000.
A criminal complaint is merely 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.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adi Goldstein.
To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/