Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Jason Ward and Devondra McFall pled guilty to Human Trafficking. Ward was sentenced to serve 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the last five years of the sentence was suspended. McFall was also sentenced to serve 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections but based on his cooperation the last fifteen years of his sentence was suspended. These sentences will be served, day for day, without the possibility of probation, parole, or early release. Ward and McFall will be placed on five years of supervised probation following their release from custody.
In the early morning hours of March 31, 2016, the Ridgeland Police Department made traffic stop that lead to information of a possible prostitution ring at the Quality Inn. Officers went to the hotel and located two females ages 17 and 33. The females were detained and interviewed, both stated that they had been forced into prostitution and had been threatened and assaulted on numerous occasions. They informed officers that the men responsible for forcing them into prostitution had used the website backpage.com to post photographs and information about them on line to schedule sexual-related meetings with men for money.
The females identified the two individuals responsible as McFall and another individual they knew only as “J”. McFall was located at the hotel and later placed under arrest after law enforcement determined that he rented two rooms that the females were using.
The ringleader of the group, who had been identified only as “J”, was not at the hotel and had left minutes prior to police arriving. Investigators learned that “J” was a registered sex offender who was living at an apartment complex in Ridgeland. Police identified him as Jason Ward and he was later arrested.
Both McFall and Ward were interviewed at the time of their arrest. Ward denied any involvement and denied knowing any of the individuals involved. McFall also initially denied being involved but later cooperated with law enforcement. McFall told officers that Ward was the ringleader of the organization. McFall stated that Ward would post information about the girls online and would arrange meetings at local hotels. McFall would then rent the rooms and collect the money which he would turn over to Ward.
Guest stated, “Human trafficking continues to be a growing problem and we must do everything we can to combat this growing problem where young women are being victimized. I want to thank the Ridgeland Police Department, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and the FBI for the outstanding job they did to bring these criminals to justice and in helping free two victims from the abuse they suffered.”
Guest added, “We cannot tolerate human trafficking and will continue to work with local, state and federal law enforcement to see that it does not make a home for itself in our community. We encourage anyone that has knowledge of human trafficking to please contact your local law enforcement. Your information may allow us to free other victims from abusers and reunite them with their family.”
Ward has been previously convicted in 2002 of aggravated sexual abuse in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
Ways You Can Get Involved in Stopping Human Trafficking:
- Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim.
- If you believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement.
- Encourage your local school, churches or other organizations to educate their members and spread awareness on human trafficking.
District Attorney Michael Guest was sworn into office in January 2008 and represents the Twentieth Judicial District, Madison and Rankin Counties. For more information regarding the District Attorney’s office, please visit www.daguest.com, Facebook, download our app or register to receive our email updates.
Name: Jason Peirre Ward
Address: 879 Williams Blvd, Ridgeland
Date of Birth: 1/12/79
Name: Devondra McFall
Address: 269 Cameron Drive, Jackson
Date of Birth: 12/03/90