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Press Release

Sex Traffickers Sentenced in Maine

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Ricardo Middleton, 32, of Boston, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release after a jury found Middleton guilty in December 2023 of sex trafficking a young woman through force, fraud and coercion and obstruction in Maine.

Middleton’s co-defendant, Sherry Jones, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was sentenced today to 80 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Jones had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking on May 23, 2023.

“This significant sentence imposed by the court reflects the severity of the defendant’s exploitation of the victim over three days. He used drugs, threats, physical force and rape to force her to engage in commercial sex for his own profit,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “These acts were odious and intolerable. They denied the victim’s basic humanity. The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute human trafficking crimes to hold offenders accountable and to seek justice for survivors of these heinous crimes.”

“Commercial sex trafficking traumatizes its victims and strips them of their freedom and dignity,” said U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee for the District of Maine. “Addressing this serious crime is a priority to my office. I commend the commitment of the law enforcement team that diligently worked this important case for years, always keeping the safety and recovery of Middleton’s vulnerable victim as the main priority.”

“The horrific violence inflicted upon women by Middleton and his co-conspirators is difficult to comprehend,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Krol of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New England. “He targeted someone battling substance use issues and used this as a lever to control, making it even harder for her to escape the nightmare she found herself in. We hope that today’s sentence marks and end to this traumatic experience as he faces a lengthy federal sentence and a beginning for those he victimized to look forward and work towards a life of dignity and self-determination.”

The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Middleton exploited a 25-year-old Maine woman who was suffering with substance abuse disorder and compelled her to engage in commercial sex, using drugs, lies, intimidation, physical violence and rape as means to control her. Testimony provided details of the three days in November 2015, in which Middleton, along with Jones and co-defendant Mathew Thatcher, of Scarborough, Maine, transported the victim to several locations in Maine and Massachusetts. Along the way, Middleton berated the victim, abused her and humiliated her, including raping her and saying he was “going to make a lot of money off” her. The evidence further detailed how Middleton, while detained pending trial, instructed a co-defendant not to cooperate with the government or incriminate him. 

On March 22, Thatcher was sentenced to 44 months in prison and three years of supervised released. Thatcher pleaded guilty on Nov. 17, 2023, to interstate transportation in aid of racketeering and contempt of court. Neither of Middleton’s co-defendants testified at the December trial. 

The HSI New England Field Office, Portland Resident Agent in Charge Office investigated the case, with assistance from the FBI, Biddeford Police Department, Portland Police Department, South Portland Police Department, Topsham Police Department and Saco Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Joyce for the District of Maine and Trial Attorney Meghan Tokash and Deputy Director William Nolan of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case.

Anyone who has information about human trafficking should report that information to the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about human trafficking, please visit Information on the Justice Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking can be found at

Updated April 22, 2024

Civil Rights
Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 24-489