Monroe County Man Guilty Of Sex Trafficking
SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that William Battle, age 28, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on August 28, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion, to participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy that involved using threats and coercion to force women to engage in prostitution in the Monroe County area between 2011 and June 2015.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Battle, who also used the street name of “Buck,” admitted to being a member of the Black P-Stones, a street gang that engaged in sex trafficking and drug trafficking in the Stroudsburg area and the state of Maine. Members of the conspiracy, including Battle, advertised prostitutes on websites, transported the prostitutes, and rented hotel and motel rooms for the purpose of having the women engage in commercial sex acts with customers.
The prostitutes were threatened, physically assaulted, and provided drugs, including heroin, by members of the conspiracy to persuade them to engage or continue to engage in prostitution. Virtually all of the money earned by the prostitutes was turned over to the gang leaders, and the prostitutes were compensated with illegal drugs.
Judge Mannion ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed. Sentencing for Battle will be scheduled at a later date. Battle remains in custody pending sentencing.
The case was prosecuted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, local police in the state of Maine, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and local police in Monroe County. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francis P. Sempa and Phillip Caraballo prosecuted the case.
This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
This case was also brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses.
This case is also a part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The maximum penalty under federal law for this offenses is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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