Federal agents arrested three Philadelphia men Friday in connection to a child sex trafficking sting operation, and Your Content is first to reveal the identities of the men.
United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that three men, Andre Michael Felts, 32, Kevin Michael Francis, 60, and Ryan Keel, 39, all of Philadelphia, PA, were charged by Indictment for their roles in a sex trafficking operation that exploited numerous minor children from 2016 through 2017. Felts was detained pending trial this afternoon, joining his co-defendants, who are also in federal custody. All three defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to sex traffic a minor, while Felts and Francis were also each charged with four counts of sex trafficking a minor.
Join the Conversation and Fight to Save Our Children on Facebook. Learn More About #SaveOurChildren from Coast to Coast.
The Indictment alleges that Felts ran a prostitution ring that recruited and enticed young girls, including one who was only fifteen years old, to engage in commercial sex acts; harbored the victims at various residences for that purpose; transported and provided the victims to males who purchased the commercial sex acts; and collected a portion of the proceeds. Further, Keel and Felts allegedly had explicit discussions via Facebook Messenger about the commercial sex acts occurring at the residences. At least one of the victims was also a victim of physical violence during the operation of the trafficking ring: according to public filings, Felts pulled her from a vehicle and repeatedly stomped on her.
“The allegations against these three men are vile and disturbing. I am gratified that the defendants are all now off the streets and in custody pending trial on these charges,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Working with our federal partners, we will do all that we can to keep criminals who sell the bodies of children for their own profit securely behind bars so they can do no more harm.”
“To advertise underage girls for sex, to willfully pimp them out for profit, is heinous,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Those who so victimize vulnerable kids do untold physical and emotional harm. Make no mistake, the Philadelphia Child Exploitation Task Force is working each and every day to lock up sex traffickers and other predators preying on innocent children.”
This investigation is a part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of lifetime imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sara Solow and Trial Attorney Jessica Urban of the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.