Lexington Man Convicted of Multiple Counts of Sex and Drug Trafficking and Related Offenses, Including Witness Tampering
Defendant used physical violence and crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines to compel multiple victims into prostitution
After a 7-day trial, a federal jury in Frankfurt, Kentucky, found Prince Bixler, 41, of Lexington, Kentucky, guilty of charges related to his extensive and violent sex and drug trafficking operation that sold crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines throughout the Lexington area and forced young, drug-addicted women to prostitute.
After deliberating for six and a half hours, the jury convicted the defendant of four counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, two counts of tampering with a witness, victim or an informant, one count of operating an unlawful prostitution business enterprise, six counts of distributing controlled substances including crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, and three counts of being a felon in possession with a firearm.
“This defendant used violence and threats of violence to create a climate of fear to trap these young women, while at the same time increasing their dependence on him by feeding them with illegal drugs to take advantage of their addictions to crack cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “Human traffickers are adept at exploiting victims’ drug addictions and using coercive tactics to intimidate and compel their services. There can be no place in our society for criminal conduct like this defendant’s, and the U.S. Department of Justice will continue its to prosecute human traffickers to the fullest extent of the law, prevent them from harming others, and seek justice for the victims of these terrible crimes.”
“The hard work, dedication, and cooperation of law enforcement from state and federal agencies have made our community safer and brought some measure of justice to the victims of Prince Bixler,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “His conduct was truly despicable, and will serve to strengthen our resolve to combat the destructive exploitation of human traffickers. I commend the members of the investigative and prosecution teams for their committed work in prosecuting this case.”
“Today’s conviction is yet another example of the FBI’s commitment to bring justice to those who exploit the most vulnerable members of our community,” said James Robert Brown, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville Field Office. “When human beings are treated as commodities, they are not only being abused physically, but emotionally and financially. FBI Louisville will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and disrupt those who engage in human trafficking.”
“Human trafficking is a violent crime with victims whose fear of reprisal often keeps them from getting help,” stated Special Agent in Charge Shawn Morrow of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Louisville Division. “What began as a drug and firearms investigation saved these victims from further exploitation and shut down a dangerous supplier of drugs in the Lexington area. ATF is proud of our local and federal law enforcement partnerships and the good work that resulted today.”
Evidence presented at trial, including the testimony of four victims, established that defendant Prince Bixler compelled four victims into prostitution between 2013 and March 2018 by physically assaulting them and others, and weakening the victims by worsening their addictions to crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. The defendant also sold crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine throughout the Lexington area to numerous customers. The Lexington Police Department executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence in March 2018, which led to the recovery of numerous firearms. The defendant, a convicted felon, was prohibited from possessing these and other firearms. As the investigation into the defendant’s illegal conduct continued throughout 2018 into 2019, he became aware that multiple potential witnesses were subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in Lexington. The defendant threatened one witness with physical violence in an attempt to dissuade her from testifying truthfully before the grand jury. The defendant also repeatedly called and harassed another witness on the eve of her scheduled grand jury appearance in an attempt to prevent her from testifying truthfully before the grand jury.
A sentencing date has not been scheduled at this time, but it will occur before District Court Judge Robert E. Wier. The defendant faces a minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, as well as mandatory restitution to the sex trafficking victims.
This case was investigated by the Lexington FBI office, the Lexington ATF office, and the Lexington Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Special Litigation Counsel Matthew Grady for the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.