Ian Sean Gordon
Antonio Devon Ford
Melvin Eugene Friedman
Phillip Anthony Aiken
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The sheriff and the FBI joined forces today to announce six arrests in the wake of the human trafficking of a 15-year-old girl.
In a case Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford described as "tantamount to slavery," five of the six arrested face sentences up to life in federal prison following their arrests last week.
Rutherford said the case began when a 15-year-old runaway met Ian Sean Gordon, who, Rutherford said, has been "making his living with these crimes."
"The sellers coerced the juvenile by supplying her drugs, providing her basic needs, and threatening her," said Rutherford.
Rutherford said Gordon and the others involved with the girl offered drugs, money and shelter in exchange for prostitution.
While she was not kidnapped, Rutherford said she was held for a month and threatened. The case broke when she was able to get away and contact her mother to pick her up.
She is now safe and receiving treatment.
Gordon, Melvin Eugene Friedman, Phillip Anthony Aiken, Oris Alexander English and Alfredo Martinez-Riquene are all charged with sex trafficking of a minor, a federal charge.
If convicted, Gordon faces 15 years to life in federal prison; Aiken, English and Martinez-Riquene face 10 years to life.
Friedman faces additional charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His sentence, if convicted, ranges from 20 years to two consecutive life sentences plus 70 years.
Antonio Devon Ford faces three years on a federal charge of misprison of a felony because, according to the FBI, he knew about the incident but did nothing.
The trial dates for the six have not yet been set.
"Human trafficking is not just an international, national problem. It is a local problem and that is why are committed to rooting it out and addressing it," said Lt. Michael Eason with JSO.
The FBI said today that Florida is the number three destination for human trafficking, though most of that is in south Florida.
A spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told First Coast News that about 100,000 American children are trafficked every year.
The spokesperson also said most children are not lucky enough to escape.
First Coast News