Memphis Man Sentenced to Life for Sex Trafficking of Minors
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced TIMOTHY JONES a/k/a “Lucci,” “King Lucci,” “Lucci Loco,” age 26, was sentenced for his role in sex trafficking two minors into the New Orleans area for the purposes of those minors engaging in prostitution. In February 2016, JONES was convicted by a federal jury on all eight counts with which he was charged, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking two minor females through the use of force, fraud, and coercion, transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of her engaging in prostitution.
U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman sentenced JONES to life imprisonment, restitution in the amount of $13,688.00 ($5,046 to minor victim 1 and $8,642.00 to minor victim 2), a special assessment of $800.00, and supervised release after the term of imprisonment.
According to evidence presented at trial, in early December 2013, JONES met and began recruiting Minor Victim 1, a 17-year-old female from Baton Rouge, to work for him in prostitution, performing numerous “dates” per day, based on quotas he set for her. JONES promised Victim 1 that she would enjoy a better life replete with travel, luxury, and safety by joining “Team Lucci,” JONES’s name for the “stable” of prostitutes he operated. For approximately three weeks, Minor Victim 1 worked for JONES, before escaping the New Orleans area. JONES “paid” Minor Victim 1 a total of $10 for her work. JONES beat Victim 1 for a variety of transgressions, including not being respectful, not earning enough money from prostitution, and trying to leave him. He also forced Minor Victim 1 to have sex with him as a way to ensure her submission and to “try out” the product he sold.
In early January 2014, JONES and a co-conspirator recruited Minor Victim 2, a sixteen-year-old female, in Memphis and coerced her to work for him in prostitution. JONES then took Minor Victim 2 to Louisville, Kentucky, to work in prostitution. Thereafter, JONES transported Minor Victim 2 to New Orleans to work for him in prostitution. Minor Victim 2 worked for JONES, under his direction and the supervision of his co-conspirator, until February 11, 2014, when a United States Marshals Task Force recovered her and arrested JONES at a hotel in downtown New Orleans.
JONES required Victim 1 and Victim 2 to give him all of the money they earned from engaging in prostitution. JONES advertised prostitution dates with Victim 1 and Victim 2 using an online classified website and also forced them to solicit prostitution dates on Bourbon Street and on Chef Menteur Highway. JONES instructed both victims on how much to charge for sex, how to solicit “dates,” and how to avoid detection by law enforcement. He also instructed them to steal credit cards, wallets, cash, and other valuables from customers. Other females testified at trial that JONES exploited them in a similar manner.
JONES used a variety of means to control his victims, whom he knew were minors. JONES beat Victim 1 and Victim 2 to punish them for disrespecting him or not earning enough money. He also slapped and punched them to keep them from leaving him. Once, after JONES located Minor Victim 2 when she tried to escape Jones’s control, Jones used a ruse to lure her to a hotel room, where he sadistically beat her. Further, while in front of Minor Victim 1 and Minor Victim 2, JONES brutally beat other females who worked for him as prostitutes as a means of threatening and intimidating his minor victims into complying with his demands. When Minor Victim 2 said that she could no longer handle the pressure of being alone in a strange city and felt ill, JONES told her that she had to earn him more money—“real” money—before he would let her have medicine or return home.
“Sex trafficking of minors is one of the most reprehensible criminal offenses imaginable,” said U.S. Attorney Polite. “A life sentence for this defendant sends the strongest message possible: our community will not tolerate this heinous conduct. Just as importantly, we are committed to helping the victims to recover from these crimes and move forward with productive lives.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – New Orleans Division and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, with cooperation from the FBI’s Memphis Field Office in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys Jordan Ginsberg and Jonathan L. Shih were in charge of the prosecution.