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Press Release

Three Maryland Defendants Indicted on Federal Sex Trafficking and Kidnapping Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging the following individuals with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and kidnapping, for allegedly forcing a woman to engage in commercial sex acts for the financial benefit of the defendants.  Charged in the indictment are:  

      Lakeya N. Aldridge, a/k/a Keys and Keya, age 39, of Federalsburg, Maryland;
      Joshua I. Lankford, a/k/a 20-20, 20, Light Bright, and Yellow, age 30, of Manchester,
        Maryland; and
      Kevonne L. Murphy, a/k/a Humble and Shackles, age 27, of Federalsburg.

The indictment was returned on August 1, 2019.  All three defendants have had an initial appearance.  Lankford and Aldridge have detention hearings scheduled for August 5 and August 6, 2019, respectively, each at 2:30 p.m.  Murphy consented to be detained pending trial.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Chief Michael McDermott of the Federalsburg Police Department; Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. of the Delaware State Police; and Attorney General Kathy Jennings of the Delaware Department of Justice.

According to the four-count indictment, from approximately October 1 to October 30, 2018, the defendants conspired to, and engaged in the business of recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, advertising, and maintaining the victim, K.A., an adult female, to engage in commercial sex acts for their financial benefit.  Specifically, the indictment alleges that Aldridge, Lankford, and Murphy rented hotel rooms for the victim to engage in commercial sex acts, as well as transporting the victim to “out calls” to hotel rooms and other locations to engage in commercial sex acts, including transporting her across state lines.  Aldridge allegedly provided narcotics, including heroin, to the victim to recruit, entice, and maintain the victim throughout the course of her engaging in commercial sex acts. 

The indictment further alleges that Aldridge, Lankford, and Murphy caused the victim to communicate with and solicit potential sex customers via the Internet, including social media, on their cellular phones.  On October 29, 2018, after the victim performed commercial sex acts in Maryland at the direction of the defendants, Aldridge, Lankford, and Murphy used force, threats of force, and physically assaulted the victim in order to transport her, against her will, from Federalsburg, Maryland, to a motel in Laurel, Delaware, to continue the sex trafficking conspiracy.

Each of the defendants faces a maximum of life in prison for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking; a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison for sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; and a maximum of life in prison for kidnapping conspiracy and for kidnapping.  

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

This case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders.  Members include federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members.  For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit

Report suspected instances of human trafficking to HSI's tip line at 866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or by completing its online tip form.  Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI, the Maryland State Police, the Federalsburg Police Department, the Delaware State Police, and the Delaware Department of Justice for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary W. Setzer and Matthew DellaBetta, who are prosecuting the case.

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Marcia Murphy
(410) 209-4854

Updated August 5, 2019

Human Trafficking