Jury Convicts St. Joseph Truck Driver, Sex Offender of Transporting a Minor for Prostitution
Human Trafficking Rescue Project
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a St. Joseph, Mo., commercial truck driver who is a registered sex offender has been convicted by a federal trial jury of transporting a minor across state lines for prostitution.
Tony Eugene Wardlow, 55, of St. Joseph, was found guilty on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, of transporting a minor across state lines for prostitution. Wardlow remains in federal custody until his sentencing.
Wardlow was self-employed as a commercial truck driver, doing business as Prideco, LLC. Wardlow is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 1997 in Nodaway County, Mo., of sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual misconduct (involving two separate child victims). Wardlow also has prior felony convictions for being a felon in possession of firearms and possessing methamphetamine.
Co-defendant Thomas Farrell, 49, of DeKalb, Mo., pleaded guilty on Feb. 7, 2014, to aiding and abetting Wardlow’s transportation of the minor victim to Texas for prostitution. Farrell was the owner of Farrell Trucking & Hay, LLC.
Evidence submitted during the trial indicated that Wardlow paid the minor victim for sex on multiple occasions while she was working as a prostitute on Independence Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. She was under 18 years of age at this time. Wardlow took her out of town in his truck on several occasions, including a trip to Texas in September 2011. Farrell accompanied them. During the trip, Wardlow engaged in prostitution activity with the minor victim multiple times, both in Wardlow’s truck and in hotels.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for about an hour before returning the verdict to U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple, ending a trial that began Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
Under federal statutes, Wardlow is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Daly and David Luna. It was investigated by the FBI, the Prairie Village, Kan., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Overland Park, Kan., Police Department in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.