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May 7, 2014

Human trafficking charges dropped against two people

Human trafficking charges brought against two people allegedly involved in a prostitution ring last summer were dropped Monday as their jury trials were set to begin.

Human trafficking charges brought against two people allegedly involved in a prostitution ring last summer were dropped Monday as their jury trials were set to begin.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a prepared statement that the cases against Shawntaya L. Shaffer and Daniel D. Tucker were dismissed at prosecutors’ request due to “witness unavailability.”

The charges may be refiled at a later time, Bennett wrote in the statement. Tucker had been facing six counts of aggravated human trafficking, court records show; Shaffer had been charged with two.

Testimony at Tucker’s October preliminary hearing showed the girls involved in the prostitution ring used a website to find customers, then turned their earnings over to Tucker and Shaffer. The pair also drove the girls to their appointments, according to the testimony.

Wichita police uncovered the ring last summer after a 17-year-old runaway phoned her mother in Montana to ask for help when she was kicked out of the Sunflower Inn, 925 N. Broadway, for refusing to prostitute herself. The teen was being held in a Montana correctional facility at the time of Tucker’s preliminary hearing.

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