Couple charged with sex trafficking of minors

Two New York residents arrested at a Milford motel Feb. 28 were indicted today on charges of sex trafficking of minors.

Edward Thomas, also known as “Fire,” 39, and Kayla Walters, 22, both of New York, were formerly charged Monday by a federal grand jury in New Haven.

The indictment alleges that, between September 2012 and August 2013, Thomas and Walters conspired to recruit, harbor and transport a minor to engage in commercial acts.

The indictment further alleges that Thomas also recruited, harbored and transported a second minor to engage in commercial sex acts.

The indictment was returned under seal on Feb. 24, and Thomas and Walters were arrested on Feb. 28 at a hotel in Milford. They appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and were ordered detained.

Thomas and Walters are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, and Thomas is charged with two counts and Walters with one count of sex trafficking of a minor.  If convicted of the charges, both defendants face a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The Stratford and Milford Police Departments have assisted the investigation.