WASHINGTON – A pimp from New York City who recruited and prostituted minor girls in several U.S. cities pleaded guilty in federal court, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie of the District of New Jersey announced today.
Demetrius Lemus, 37, of New York City entered a plea of guilty today before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to conspiracy to transport minors to engage in prostitution.
According to the plea agreement, Lemus was part of a prostitution ring operating from 1999 through 2005 in various U.S. cities, including Atlantic City, N.J.; New York City (including Manhattan and Hunts Point in the Bronx); Las Vegas; Boston; and Miami. Other members of the conspiracy, including Melissa Ramlakhan, Anna Argyroudis, Emily Collins-Koslosky, Jacqueline Collins-Koslosky and Kemyra Jemerson, allegedly recruited and transported young girls to and from various cities in order to have them work as prostitutes for pimp Matthew D. Thompkins. Members of the conspiracy would also hide the proceeds of the illegal prostitution enterprise by converting the proceeds into U.S. postal and Western Union money orders in amounts under the legal reporting requirement of $3,000. To date, over $800,000 in U.S. postal and Western Union money orders have been identified as having been purchased and used by members of the conspiracy. Ramlakhan, Argyroudis, Emily and Jacqueline Collins-Koslosky, and Jemerson have all pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Thompkins is scheduled for trial in January 2007.
Lemus faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison to a maximum of 30 years and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec. 8, 2006.
The case is part of the “Innocence Lost” initiative, a cooperative effort to prevent and prosecute cases involving child prostitution between the FBI, the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. To date, the Innocence Lost Initiative has resulted in 228 open investigations, 543 arrests, 86 complaints, 121 informations or indictments, and 94 convictions in both the federal and state systems.
The case is being investigated by Special Agent Daniel Garrabrant of the FBI and Special Agent Tara Nevrincean of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sherri A. Stephan of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Richardson of the District of New Jersey in Camden.