United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
TACOMA MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Forced Young Women into Prostitution and Profited From the Sex Trade
CHRISTOPHER LEWIS, 24, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release for Human Trafficking. LEWIS was arrested last year and pleaded guilty in early 2011, admitting that he had profited from the prostitution of a juvenile female. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan imposed $7,000 in restitution to go to the victim.
LEWIS and co-defendant Lashad Alexander first came to the attention of law enforcement in
April 2010. Alexander was arrested 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. The juvenile female had been “given” by LEWIS to Alexander to work as a prostitute.
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.
In asking for the nine year prison term, prosecutors said it would protect other young women. “Lewis was able to take advantage of a teenage girl who was homeless and looking for and needing emotional and physical acceptance....(He) was able to manipulate his relationship with (the victim), and her desire for acceptance, to financially benefit from it,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
Lashad Alexander will be sentenced next week.
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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Matthew Thomas.