Federal Indictment Charges Defendants with Sex Trafficking of a Child and Witness Tampering
PORTLAND, Ore. - Lead defendant Chris Cool Wilmer, 28, of Tacoma, Washington, made his initial appearance today in federal court on an indictment charging him with four counts of sex-trafficking, including sex trafficking of a child, coercion and enticement of a minor, transportation of a minor for prostitution, and a violation of the Mann Act for transporting an adult for prostitution. According to prosecutors, Wilmer is a career offender with a violent history. The federal magistrate detained Wilmer as both a danger to the community and a risk of flight.
Wilmer's niece, Latanisha "Tay" Booker, 20, of Portland, Oregon, appeared in court last week on the same indictment in which the federal grand jury charged her with transportation of a minor for prostitution, witness tampering, and retaliating against a witness. Booker's alleged acts of tampering and retaliating were against the victim of human trafficking described in count 4 of the indictment. Based on the sex trafficking charge and her alleged conduct in assaulting a federal witness in this case, Booker was detained as a danger to the community and a risk of flight.
"My office takes very seriously any threat to witnesses, especially those who alert police and bring to light crimes taking place in the dark underworld of sex trafficking," said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI's Innocence Lost Task Force and detectives with the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). According to the now unsealed indictment, the sex trafficking took place recently in January and February of 2012. PPB Detectives arrested Booker on March 6, 2012, and Wilmer was arrested by authorities in Tacoma one week later on March 12, 2012.
"These arrests are the result of the excellent police work by the FBI's Innocence Lost Task Force working in conjunction with local law enforcement officers in Portland and Tacoma. "This teamwork is essential to catching predators who recruit children and sell them as sexual slaves."
Upon conviction for transporting a minor for prostitution, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant should be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah K. Bolstad.
For additional information, the attached indictment can be found at this link.