February 21, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Joseph-Michael Elias McFarland, 22, of Madison, Florida, was sentenced yesterday to 132 months for sex trafficking of a minor and distribution of the controlled substance ?-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone or “Alpha-PVP.” The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
In September 2015, a confidential source met McFarland to purchase drugs. During this meeting, McFarland told the confidential source that he was prostituting a girl. After the confidential source told McFarland about potential clients, McFarland said the victim was either 17 or 18 years old. However, McFarland knew that the victim was only sixteen years old. The narcotics the confidential source bought, as well as additional drugs bought the next day, tested positive for Alpha-PVP. McFarland later contacted the confidential source to discuss prostituting the victim and also sent pictures of the victim.
When law enforcement officers searched the residence where McFarland sold the drugs, the victim was located hiding in a closet. Firearms, ammunition, digital scales, and drug paraphernalia were also discovered. McFarland’s cellular telephone contained messages discussing prostituting the victim and selling narcotics. McFarland pled guilty on May 9, 2016.
“Our role in these investigations is to help parents and caregivers keep children safe in their homes and in the community,” said United States Attorney Christopher P. Canova. “These despicable acts ruin lives at an early age and this sentence sends a strong message to child predators that my office and our law enforcement partners are vigilant in our efforts to identify and prosecute them.”
“Let this sentencing send a message that HSI special agents, and our law enforcement partners, will expend every resource to investigate and prosecute these heinous crimes,” said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. “A young victim was rescued and this predator is being held accountable for his crimes.”
This case resulted from investigations by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Tallahassee Police Department, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Harwin.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.