by Pat Raia
A year and a half after they were charged with operating a human trafficking ring, the cases of two men have been closed and those of seven others will come before the 5th Judicial Court of Florida in Hernando County again in February.
In May 2019 after a two-year investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and the FBI, a total of 10 men were arrested tor participating in a human trafficking for prostitution operation. In all Bryan Joseph Giguere, Joseph Andrew Easton, James William Hancock, Jason Michael Raulerson, Shawn Christopher Henson, Luigi Barile, Lawrence Edward Kemble, Latchman Kaladeen, Matthew Christopher Doyle and an unnamed individual were all charged with Human Trafficking, Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking, Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device, and Lewd or Lascivious Battery.
The case also made headlines when Judge Daniel B. Merritt, Jr. who is presiding over the cases granted petitions for bond reductions for Kimble, Doyle, Barile and Easton.
Last month, the cases of two of the suspects were closed, according to records from Hernando County Clerk of Court and Controller, Doug Chorvat, Jr.
In October 2019 Joseph Andrew Easton pleaded nolo contendere to use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony, and was sentenced to 3 years probation in exchange for his “truthful testimony” in cases against his co-defendants. On Nov. 10, Easton's case was closed with his payment of $2,256 in “fines, costs and fees.”
On Nov. 20, the case against Shawn Christopher Henson was closed when according to a plea agreement, Merritt sentenced him to 15 years probation and 5 years in State prison for Human Trafficking, 15 years probation and 5 years in state prison for Conspiracy to commit Human Trafficking, 5 years in state prison for Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device, and 5 years in State prison for Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor. All the prison terms are to be served concurrently.
He was also ordered to pay $13,017.62 in fines, costs and fees, court records say.
Meanwhile, pre-trial proceedings are slated to take place on Feb. 4 for Bryan Joseph Giguere, James William Hancock, Jason Michael Raulerson, Luigi Barile, Lawrence Edward Kemble, Latchman Kaladeen, and Matthew Christopher Doyle according to court records.
Those cases remain pending.