Federal, State, And Local Law Enforcement Agencies Unite To Combat Human Trafficking
United States Attorney Announces Successful Human Trafficking Prosecutions in the Middle District of Florida
Tampa, FL – In recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and various Middle District of Florida (MDFL) law enforcement executives highlighted recent human trafficking prosecutions in the MDFL during a presentation in Tampa today.
In 2017, the United States Attorney’s Office, in partnership with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, brought charges against individuals for human trafficking where victims, including minors, have been forced to commit commercial sex acts and engage in sex tourism.
“Investigating and prosecuting human trafficking remains a priority for our district,” stated U.S. Attorney Chapa Lopez. “In order to tackle this problem, we must continue to collaborate with our law enforcement and other partners to bring human traffickers to justice and assist trafficking survivors.”
MDFL Human Trafficking Case Highlights
U.S. v. Rowy Vasquez – Vasquez (27, Altamonte Springs) provided a 14-year-old girl, who had run away from home, with a cellphone so that she could post advertisements for prostitution services online and communicate with potential customers. He also set the prices for her sex acts and kept all of the proceeds. Vasquez pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a minor and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
U.S. v. Abdhullah Hamidullah – Hamidullah (44) lured a young woman to travel to Florida on false pretenses, then forced her to engage in commercial sex acts with multiple customers a day for several months, and provide him the proceeds. He isolated her in his apartment, took away her money and phone, and installed an alarm without providing her the code. He also assaulted her, showed her his handgun, and branded her with a tattoo in the course of compelling her to prostitute for his profit. Hamidullah pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and to enticing and transporting individuals for prostitution. He was sentenced to 40 years and 2 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $1.179 million in restitution to his victims.
U.S. v. Gary Paul Moorman – Moorman (35, Cincinnati, OH) systematically and violently abused multiple victims and induced them, against their wills, to travel between Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere to commit acts of prostitution. He took provocative photos of the victims and posted prostitution advertisements online. After the victims were forced to provide the sex acts, Moorman demanded and took all of the proceeds for himself. Moorman pleaded guilty to inducement to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
U.S. v. Michael Gallon, U.S. v. Kavin Carter, U.S. v. Thomas Carr – Gallon (52, Lakeland) recruited minor and adult women to travel and work at “parties” and “VIP rooms” as “models,” where customers paid to have sex with them. Gallon partnered with Carter (42, Lake City), who co-hosted parties at his home, and they charged the women to use the “VIP” rooms and kept most of the money the women had earned. Carr (50, Jacksonville) was identified as one of Gallon’s regular customers. Gallon would call Carr when he had girls available and the two would meet so that Carr could select girls to take back to his home. Gallon pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a minor and distributing child pornography and was sentenced to 33 years and 9 months in federal prison. Carter pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison. A federal jury in Jacksonville found Carr guilty of using underage girls to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 2018.
U.S. v. Xavier Villanueva, Jose Carmona, Ashley Barnett, and Keith Romby – Orlando residents Villanueva (28), Carmona (24), Barnett (28), and Romby (27) agreed to recruit and entice a 14-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts. Over a period of nine days, they used drugs, intimidation, and physical restraint to cause the minor to engage in prostitution with customers they solicited online. The minor ultimately escaped from the house where she was being held captive. Villanueva, Carmona, and Romby were part of the “Nine Trey Billy Bad Ass” gang, which is affiliated with the “Bloods” street gang. A federal jury found Villanueva, Carmona, and Barnett guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor. Carmona and Barnett were also found guilty of aiding and abetting each other in the commission of the offense. Romby pleaded guilty to both charges. Villanueva was sentenced to 19 years and 7 months in federal prison; Carmona was sentenced to a term of 12 years and 6 months; Barnett was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment; and Romby was sentenced to 8 years and 4 months in federal prison.
U.S. v. Maurice Williams and Antawan Hudson – Tampa brothers Williams (32) and Hudson (27) worked together to post online prostitution ads for underage females and then transported the girls throughout central Florida to have sex with customers. After the victims had sex with the customers, Williams and Hudson took some or all of the money and, in exchange, offered the victims drugs, alcohol, and beauty appointments. Hudson pleaded guilty to sex trafficking minors on the first day of trial and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. A federal jury found Williams guilty of child sex trafficking and possessing child pornography; he was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.
U.S. v. Kennedy Harris, Jr. – Harris (24, Cocoa) took in a 16-year girl, after she ran away from home. He took sexually suggestive photographs of the girl and advertised her for sex on Backpage.com. He also enticed the victim to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of photographing her. Over the course of approximately two weeks, the teen had sex with up to eight individuals per day, and gave the money to Harris. In exchange for her sex acts, Harris gave the girl crack cocaine nearly every day. The victim was recovered by the Cocoa Police Department. A federal jury found Kennedy guilty of sex trafficking a child and producing child pornography. In May 2017, he was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
U.S. v. Alysia Algere – Algere, a/k/a “Coco” (30, Tampa), recruited two boys and a girl, who were between 14 and 16 years of age, to engage in commercial sex acts. She took sexually explicit photos of the teens and posted advertisements on online, selling them for sex. After pleading guilty, she was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for sex trafficking.
U.S. v. Devin Pemberton – Pemberton (40, Tampa) recruited adult and minor women, via the Internet, to work for his “escort” business. Law enforcement identified multiple women, including at least three minors that he had trafficked. Pemberton recruited his victims and took photographs of them in sexually explicit clothing. He posted the photos online, scheduled clients for them to meet with, and provided housing and hotel rooms for the sex acts. He then took the proceeds from the sex acts. Pemberton was sentenced to 17 years and 6 months in federal prison.
U.S. v. Nathan Madsen – Madsen (37, Tampa), a music professor at the University of Tampa, was sentenced to nearly 18 years in federal prison for enticing a child to produce child pornography, and for possessing child pornography. Madsen responded to an online ad for prostitution services posted by Homeland Security Investigations. He requested and negotiated the price to have sex with a 14-year-old-girl. In an attempt to verify the existence of the minor, Madsen asked for her picture, spoke to her on the phone, withdrew money from the ATM, drove to the designated location, and met with an undercover special agent. Madsen paid the agent $140 to have sex with the teen. After his arrest, law enforcement determined that Madsen had engaged in a series of sexually explicit online conversations with a 16-year-old girl and had persuaded her to produce explicit images and videos for his personal benefit. At the time of his arrest, Madsen had 61 images and 14 videos of the girl, at least some of which depicted violence.