JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An Ocala man has been arrested on charges of human trafficking after deputies determined he was coercing children into trading sexual favors for cash. His wife also may have played a role, deputies say.
Dwight Tawan Edwards was arrested on a Marion County Sheriff’s Office warrant for six counts of human trafficking and six counts of lewd or lascivious battery.
On Nov. 29, his wife, Jessica Lynn Edwards was arrested for two counts of child neglect.
Deputies say on Nov. 22, an investigation was launched into Dwight Edwards after inappropriate texts between Dwight and two juvenile victims, who were between 12 and 16 years old, were found.
During the course of the investigation, deputies determined that Dwight Edwards had been coercing the children into trading sexual favors for cash and items of monetary value for more than a year.
Deputies say they brought Jessica Edwards in for an interview to inform her of her husband's arrest when he was located. Detectives asked for her assistance in locating him, however, she declined.
Deputies say it was also discovered that during the Thanksgiving holiday, Jessica Edwards had forced the juvenile victims to have contact with Dwight alone.
Based on this information, detectives arrested Jessica Edwards for child neglect.
MCSO detectives obtained a warrant for Dwight’s arrest.
Members of the US Marshal’s Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force determined that Dwight had made his way to Stockbridge, Georgia.
They contacted the US Marshal’s Southeastern Regional Fugitive Task Force, and with the assistance of the Henry County Police Department, they took Dwight into custody.
Jessica is currently being held at the Marion County Jail on a $100,000 bond. Dwight is being held at the Henry County Jail, awaiting extradition back to Marion County.