Battle Creek Sex Traffickers Charged Federally
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN –A federal grand jury indicted four Battle Creek men, William Jeffrey-Davis Edwards (age 24), Dakota Dale Walters (age 24), James Gabriel Smith (age 26), and Michael Ray Noble II (age 20), on multiple counts of sex trafficking two minors, both age 14. Calhoun County previously charged all four defendants with human trafficking upon their arrest in June, and those charges will be dismissed in light of the federal prosecution. Homeland Security Investigations has been working closely with the Battle Creek Police Department on a coordinated state and federal investigation.
The defendants face up to life in prison on the sex trafficking counts, sex offender registration, and up to lifetime on intensive federal supervised release after prison. The minors will be able to seek monetary restitution for counseling, treatment, and other damages if the defendants are convicted. In addition to being charged with sex trafficking, Smith faces up to 10 years in prison on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller, is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office; county prosecutor’s offices; and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Childhood in West Michigan, including resources for children and parents, visit: http://www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/psc.html.
The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.