MS-13 Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison for Racketeering Charges Including the Murder of 16-Year-Old Victim in Alley Pond Park in Queens
Earlier today in federal court in Central Islip, an 11-count indictment was unsealed charging Lamont Young, also known as “Paper,” with sex trafficking by force, sex trafficking of a minor and interstate prostitution. Young was arrested today on Long Island and was arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge James M. Wicks. Young was ordered detained pending trial.
Earlier this week, on September 26, 2023, a six-count indictment was also unsealed in federal court in Central Islip charging Michail McKen, also known as “Kells,” with sex trafficking by force and interstate prostitution. McKen was arrested this morning in Arizona. He will make his initial appearance in federal court in Phoenix later this afternoon.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Rodney K. Harrison, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the indictments.
“As alleged, Young and McKen each ran a national sex trafficking business, including on Long Island, forcing vulnerable females into commercial sex work for the defendants’ financial benefit,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “These indictments demonstrate that the United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working with both local and federal partners to ensure that sex trafficking on Long Island is not tolerated, and those who engage in such violent, cruel crimes are held accountable.”
Mr. Peace also expressed his thanks to the New York City Police Department for their assistance with the Young case, and to the Greater Phoenix Human Trafficking Task Force and the FBI Phoenix Violent Crimes Task Force for their assistance with the McKen arrest.
“The commercial sexual exploitation of women is a heinous act that causes long-lasting harm to victims and their families,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith. “Combating sex trafficking and violence in our communities is one of the top priorities for the FBI and our law enforcement partners across New York.”
“This pair preyed on and recruited vulnerable young women for years using violence and other measures to force them to engage in sex acts for their own financial gain,” stated SCPD Commissioner Harrison. “The Suffolk County Police Department remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners throughout the nation to bring justice to victims of human trafficking.”
As set forth in Young’s indictment and other court filings, between 2011 and at least 2021, Young recruited his victims online, sold them a dream of stability and financial wellbeing, and then once they accepted his invitation to work for him, he used violence, fraud and coercion to cause them to engage in commercial sex acts for his benefit. At least one of his victims was a minor, who engaged in numerous sex acts on Long Island in 2016 and 2017 at Young’s direction. Young referred to the women that worked for him as a “program” or a “movement,” had numerous rules and inflicted violence on the victims when he perceived they disobeyed him. Young also had some of his victims brand themselves with tattoos, including the letter “P” for his street name “Paper,” which is a reference to cash.
As alleged in McKen’s indictment and other court filings, between 2019 and 2022, McKen used violence and threats of violence to compel multiple women to engage in commercial sex acts for his financial benefit. McKen often recruited sex workers in Virginia, and then caused them to travel to Long Island, where McKen is originally from, to engage in commercial sex acts. McKen sent his victims all over the country to work, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Kentucky, Alabama and Oregon. Of the individuals that he trafficked, McKen separated them into two tiers – high-end, experienced females, for whose services he could charge large sums of money, and lower-end, less competitive females, who often struggled with drug addiction, and for whose services McKen would charge less. McKen maintained leverage over those suffering with drug addiction by forcing them to engage in commercial sex acts in exchange for a rationed supply of narcotics that would prevent them from going through complete withdrawal. At the time of his arrest, law enforcement recovered a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun from the Mercedes Benz vehicle he was driving.
The charges in the Young and McKen indictments are allegations and both defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, they face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and up to life in prison.
If you are a victim of trafficking—whether by Young, McKen or someone else—and have information to provide, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is prepared to help regardless of your immigration status, at tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
The government’s cases are being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Megan Farrell is in charge of both prosecutions.
LAMONT YOUNG (also known as “Paper”)
Hauppauge, Central Islip and Patchogue, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-CR-382(JMA)
MICHAIL MCKEN (also known as “Kells” and “Cavalli”)
Baldwin, New York and Phoenix, Arizona
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-CR-377(JMA)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office