Brooklyn Man Charged with Murder and Sex Trafficking Eight Women
Case is Believed to Be First Prosecution Under Federal Statute Criminalizing Murder in the Course of Sex Trafficking
A 10-count indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Somorie Moses, also known as “Somorie Barfield,” “Sugar Bear,” “Bear” and “Daddy,” with the 2017 murder of one woman, Leondra Foster, and with sex trafficking eight women. This indictment is believed to be the first use of the federal statute criminalizing murder in the course of sex trafficking. Moses will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.
“Sex trafficking is a modern form of slavery that uses violence and fear to force vulnerable individuals to work for someone else’s profit, in this case resulting in the alleged brutal murder of one of the victims,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office will continue to prioritize investigation and prosecution of these heinous crimes. I thank the victims for their bravery in coming forward to report the defendant’s crimes and hope that this prosecution will help bring them and Ms. Foster’s family closure.”
Mr. Peace also expressed his grateful appreciation to the FBI, the NYPD, and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their work and assistance in this investigation and prosecution.
“Words do not adequately convey the depravity of the long list of actions Moses allegedly took to torment and terrorize women so he could traffic them for money,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll. “He's accused of storing a woman's head in his freezer after he killed her. Imagine how hard it is for his victims to come forward - but they have and should be commended for their bravery. They will help us bring Moses to justice for his alleged crimes, and will keep him from harming another human being.”
“The NYPD is committed to protecting the survivors of sex trafficking and holding fully accountable anyone who would seek to profit through the abuse and exploitation of another human being,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “The level of depravity allegedly shown in this case is truly beyond the pale. I thank and commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, and our partners at the FBI and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, for their support in building this critical case.”
According to the indictment in this case and other court filings, since at least 2003, Moses allegedly forced women and girls, including minors, into prostitution for his benefit using violence, threats of violence, and psychological manipulation. After meeting his victims, Moses used false promises of love and marriage to initiate sexual relationships with them before demanding that they work as prostitutes and turn over the money they earned to him. Moses used brutal beatings, rape, torture, and threats to coerce his victims to work in prostitution in Brooklyn and Queens and to comply with his orders. Moses pressured many of his victims into getting his first name, “Somorie,” tattooed on their bodies.
As alleged, Moses used extreme violence to force his victims to work in prostitution for his benefit. For example, when one victim refused to engage in prostitution, Moses used a taser against her until she complied. On another occasion, Moses slashed a victim’s arms and back with a razor and beat her with a belt before pouring lemon juice on her wounds, leaving her permanently scarred. When another victim did not do as Moses ordered, he beat her with an extension cord and threatened to rub salt in her wounds. When another victim told Moses she did not want to work as a prostitute, he put a shotgun in her mouth and threatened to kill her and her child.
In the early morning hours of January 13, 2017, Moses allegedly murdered Leondra Foster, one of his many sex trafficking victims, by beating her until she died. The following morning, using a knife and a saw, Moses dismembered Foster’s body inside their shared apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Four days later, on the morning of January 17, 2017, Moses brought Foster’s torso and limbs to the Bronx for disposal at a sanitation site. Foster’s head, hands and feet — including a foot with the name “Somorie” tattooed on it — were subsequently recovered by law enforcement inside the deep freezer of Moses’s apartment.
The government’s investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about crimes perpetrated by Somorie Moses is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, and reference this case.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of the murder charge, Moses faces life imprisonment, and is eligible for the death penalty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Siegel and Tanya Hajjar are in charge of the prosecution.
SOMORIE MOSES (also known as “Somorie Barfield,” “Sugar Bear,” “Bear” and “Daddy”)
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CR-232 (CBA)