St. Johns County Defendant Convicted of Human Trafficking

Thu, May 16, 2024 at 7:12PM

St. Johns County Defendant Convicted of Human Trafficking


May 16, 2024     


State of Florida v. James Thomas Ford


DOB: 04/06/1990

Case Number: CF2300590   


St. Johns County Defendant Convicted of Human Trafficking

ST. AUGUSTINE – After one-day trial this afternoon, a St. Johns County jury found defendant James Ford guilty as charged of Human Trafficking, Traveling to Meet a Minor, Soliciting a Person Believed to be a Child for Unlawful Sexual Conduct using Computer Services or Devices, Attempted Lewd or Lascivious Battery and Unlawful Use of a Two-way Communication Device.

In April 2023, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office conducted an undercover operation, which targeted suspects using the internet to sexually exploit children.

During the operation, an undercover detective portrayed themselves as a 14-year-old girl in an internet ad. The detective then received sexual text messages from Ford in response to the ad.

The defendant agreed to pay $150 in exchange for sexual acts. He then traveled to meet the minor at a location in St. Johns County where he was arrested.

“When a person attempts to or succeeds in paying for sex - they are partaking in the human trafficking trade,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said about the case. “And when they seek a sexual episode with a minor - like the defendant did - they engage in the most despicable crime of child sex trafficking.”

The case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant State Attorneys Kaitlyn Payne and Val Avanesov successfully tried the case for the state. The Honorable Lee Smith presided over the case and will pronounce sentence at a later date. Ford faces life in prison for the crimes.


For more information contact: 

Haley Harrison | Multimedia Specialist/PIO | Office of State Attorney R.J. Larizza, Florida's Seventh Judicial Circuit |

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