United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
TWO TACOMA MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Both Forced Young Women into Prostitution and Profited From the Sex Trade
Two men who forced young women to work as prostitutes in the Tacoma area, pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court to human trafficking. CHRISTOPHER LEWIS, 24, and LASHAD ALEXANDER, 24, both of Tacoma, Washington, will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan on May 6, 2011. Under the terms of the plea agreements, ALEXANDER faces seven to twelve years in prison and LEWIS will be sentenced to nine years in prison. If Judge Bryan sentences outside those limits, either side can withdraw from the plea agreement.
ALEXANDER was initially charged by Complaint in April 2010. He was arrested on March 29, 2010, by Lakewood Police officers after the police recovered a 17 year old female from a motel room. The juvenile had called her brother for help because she was being held against her will. The juvenile female identified ALEXANDER as the pimp who had forced her to engage in sex with strangers for money.
In August 2010, CHRISTOPHER LEWIS and LASHAD ALEXANDER were charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking and related crimes. According to the charging papers and other pleadings, LEWIS and ALEXANDER were involved in the trafficking of three females. One of the juveniles was working as a prostitute for LEWIS in February and March 2010. LEWIS financially profited from the juvenile’s prostitution, and facilitated her prostitution by renting motel rooms and transporting the juvenile to and from prostitution “dates.” In the plea agreement filed on February 10, 2011, LEWIS admitted that he intended to cause the juvenile to believe that she would suffer serious harm if she did not perform acts of prostitution. In the plea agreement, LEWIS agreed to a nine year prison term, and to pay restitution to the juvenile.
LASHAD ALEXANDER also had a female working as a prostitute for him from approximately 2005 until his arrest on March 29, 2010. The woman was a juvenile in 2005; she is now an adult. ALEXANDER assisted the woman’s prostitution activities by purchasing clothing, condoms, and cellular telephones for her to use while working. ALEXANDER also bought debit cards for the woman to use to post sex advertisements on the internet. ALEXANDER rented motel rooms for prostitution. The woman had to provide ALEXANDER with her earnings from her work as a prostitute. On some occasions, ALEXANDER struck the woman and caused her to believe that she would suffer serious harm if she did not earn money for him as a prostitute. Under the terms of the plea agreement, ALEXANDER will pay restitution to the victim.
The investigative agencies involved in this case were the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lakewood Police Department, Tacoma Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Divisions.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo, Catherine Crisham, and Matthew Thomas.