In 2014, new laws regarding the crime of human trafficking were passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.
The criminal aspect of these new laws were tested for the first time earlier last month (May 2016) in a case involving a West Park man accused of operating a prostitution and drug ring.
It took a jury a little more than one hour to convict Gerard Nelson of the crime based on the framework of the “up until now” untested law.
The jury found him guilty of two counts of human trafficking and one count of interference with the custody of a minor under the outline of the 2014 law in addition to one count of cannabis possession and an additional count of the unlawful use of a communications device.
According to the Assistant State Attorney who prosecuted the case, “previous human trafficking cases were tried under charges of racketeering, procuring a minor for prostitution and/or profiting from prostitution”. Nelson was the first defendant in Broward County to be tried and convicted specifically for human trafficking under the guidelines of the 2014 law. He faces life in prison when his fate will be determined by a Broward Circuit Court Judge; most likely later this month.
The Law Offices of Michael B. Cohen can assist you with all human trafficking charges if a charge for an alleged crime has been filed. His personal experience shows the credentials and know-how of a former Assistant United States Attorney and an extensively skilled former Assistant State Attorney as well as a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida.
A total of five men and one woman who operated as music producers and rappers under the handle of Str8Profit Boyz were arrested in the case. They had a strong presence on social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The other five individuals: Andre Veira, also from West Park, as is the now convicted Nelson, Dexter Curry Jr., Antonio Johnson; and Pa’Keith White, all three residents of Miami-Dade County, along with Vicki Pierre of Miramar are all awaiting their day in court while being held since last Spring in Broward County Jails.
All six were arrested in a bi-county joint effort conducted by the Fort Lauderdale police, along with detectives from the Broward Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes against Children Task Force and the Miami-Dade Police’s Robbery Intervention Detail and Sex Crimes Unit.
Detectives from all the above mentioned law enforcement agencies were conducting an undercover investigation that led them to the criminal enterprise. The members of the group were accused of exploiting young females by forcing them into prostitution as well as running a human trafficking operation, according to police.
Nelson’s arrest took place after he tried to recruit three female teenagers into becoming a part of the prostitution ring he allegedly commanded. However, one of the girls he tried to enlist turned out to be an undercover police officer who infiltrated the criminal organization.
Nelson was acquitted of one of the counts against him regarding one of the girls that didn’t show up for trial, but his attempted recruitment of the undercover officer made the case a slam-dunk for the prosecution. To read about all the charges in detail and view the final dispositions of the case click here.
To learn more about the charge of human trafficking follow this link to read about it in detail on my Website.
With two office locations in Fort Lauderdale and one in Palm Beach County my law offices can immediately assist you with all answers concerning questions for a strong criminal defense when human trafficking charges are filed including cases relating to sex trafficking or the transport of adult women and minors under eighteen years of age.
If you or someone close to you is accused of human trafficking in Florida, don’t delay. Call me at the earliest possible time. My law firm has the capabilities to meticulously defend multiple types of federal and state allegations.
Contact The Law Offices of Michael B. Cohen for a completely confidential and free consultation today.
Michael B. Cohen is a veteran Fort Lauderdale human trafficking attorney who was previously an Assistant United States Attorney as well as an Assistant State Attorney for Broward County, Florida, now practicing as a criminal defense attorney since the advent of the twenty-first century
To read an overview of his qualifications click here.