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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hattiesburg Man Convicted of Human Trafficking in Oxford Mississippi

Late yesterday afternoon, a federal jury in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Mississippi, found Raymorris Asencio, 31 of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, guilty of human trafficking and transporting a minor across state lines to engage in prostitution.  The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar and Special Agent in Charge, Christopher Freeze, Federal Bureau of Investigation.  During the trial, the jury heard testimony from the victim and local citizens who observed the minor and reported their concerns to police.  FBI agents and task force officers from Oxford, Hattiesburg, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana were able to rescue the minor from a hotel room in Baton Rouge in February 2017.

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson presided over the trial and will sentence Asencio at a later date.  Asencio faces possible penalties of not less than 10 years and up to life imprisonment, fines of up to $250,000, and post-imprisonment terms of supervision of not less than 5 years.

United States Attorney William C. Lamar said, “Combatting human trafficking is a top priority for the Department of Justice and our office.  Through collaborative efforts with our state and local law enforcement partners in Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Safe Childhood we will do just that.  We must protect our children from predators like Asencio.  I want to thank the private citizens in Oxford who noticed the minor and Asencio and notified the Oxford Police Department of their concerns for the minor's safety.  I also want to commend the quick action of the Oxford Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other police departments in Hattiesburg, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who all worked together to locate and rescue the minor.”

“It is nearly unthinkable that trafficking a minor for prostitution still happens in Mississippi, but the jury in this case agreed that the charges against Asencio were warranted,” said Special Agent in Charge Freeze. “Our Child Exploitation Task Force constantly focuses on those that prey on children. I want to personally thank the special agents, task force officers and partner law enforcement agencies that assisted with this case, because without these partnerships, these types of verdicts would not be possible.”

Assistant United States Attorneys Paul Roberts and Michael Hallock prosecuted the case for the United States.  The case was investigated by the FBI Jackson Division’s Child Exploitation Task Force, which is made up of agents from the FBI and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and officers from the Prentiss County Sheriff’s Office and Southaven Police Department.

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Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Updated March 22, 2018