Appeals pending in human trafficking convictions

·2 min read

Sep. 9—Appeals are pending for two residents of Hunt County convicted on charges of continuous trafficking of a child.

The Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas is scheduled on Oct. 8 to consider the appeal from Barbara Barrett, who was found guilty in September 2021 and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Her husband, Jeffery Barrett, was convicted of the same charge in February and was sentenced to life.

Following a hearing in the 354th District Court on Sept. 1, Jeffery Barrett's appeal was formally submitted, but no date for a hearing had been scheduled as of Wednesday.

The Barretts are accused of abusing and neglecting their adopted children while forcing them to work in a puppy mill attached to their home.

On Sept. 25, 2017, the SPCA of Texas joined with then-Hunt County Constable for Precinct 1 Terry Jones and the Hunt County Sheriff's Office in seizing 117 animals from a home on County Road 3103, off of Interstate 30.

Jones is currently the Hunt County Sheriff.

The agency reported the majority of the animals, 100 dogs and puppies, were housed in a metal addition to the brick home on the property and were found living in cages, crates and kennels, up to three dogs in each. Another 15 dogs and puppies and two cats were found inside the residence. The Barretts were said to have told investigators they were selling the dogs.

The investigation into the puppy mill was followed by allegations the couple forced their children to help run the business.

The Texas Attorney General's Office of Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime Division assisted the Hunt County District Attorney in the prosecution.

An amendment to the indictments filed Sept. 1, 2021 alleged the Barretts "did knowingly traffic" the four children "through force, fraud or coercion" to "engage in forced labor or services."