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2 charged in Cook Co. human trafficking investigation

On Tuesday, Nicholas Fernandez, 23, of Alpharetta was arrested by the GBI in Athens. The GBI...
On Tuesday, Nicholas Fernandez, 23, of Alpharetta was arrested by the GBI in Athens. The GBI also took out warrants in Cook County for Brady Hart, 50, of Chestertown, Md.(AP/WCTV)
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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SPARKS, Ga. (WALB) - Two men are facing charges in connection to a human trafficking investigation out of Cook County, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

On Tuesday, Nicholas Fernandez, 23, of Alpharetta, was arrested by the GBI in Athens. The GBI also took out warrants in Cook County for Brady Hart, 50, of Chestertown, Md.

The two are facing charges in connection to a missing person’s case that the Sparks Police Department requested the GBI’s assistance on in April 2020.

“The investigation led agents to Chestertown, Maryland where a 14-year-old girl was found at Hart’s residence,” the GBI said in a release. “Further investigation identified Nicholas Fernandez as Hart’s associate.”

Fernandez was charged with:

  • Trafficking of persons for labor or servitude (sex trafficking of a minor) and enticing a minor (Cook County charges)
  • Trafficking of persons for labor or servitude (sex trafficking of a minor, Athens-Clarke County charge)
  • Child molestation (Athens-Clarke County charge)
  • Aggravated child molestation (Athens-Clarke County charge)
  • Statutory rape (Athens-Clarke County charge)
  • Kidnapping (Athens-Clarke County charge)

Hart was charged with:

  • Trafficking of persons for labor or servitude (Sex trafficking of a minor, Cook County charge)
  • Two counts of enticing a minor (Cook County charge)
  • Interstate interference with custody (Cook County charge)
  • Trafficking of persons for labor or servitude (Sex trafficking of a minor, Athens-Clarke County charge)
  • Kidnapping (Athens-Clarke County charge)
  • Enticing a minor (Athens-Clarke County charge)

On July 21, Fernandez was arrested in Cook County for conspiracy to commit interstate interference with custody, interference with custody, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the GBI.

One victim has been identified so far in the investigation, according to the GBI.

The investigation is active and ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the GBI’s Regional Office in Douglas at (912) 389-4103 or the Sparks Police Department at (229) 546-8211. Anonymous tips can also be made by calling (1-800) 597-8477 or be made online.

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