Colorado Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Sex Trafficking Charges in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – A Colorado man pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., this morning to sex trafficking charges, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).
David Justin Lynch, 39, of Colorado Springs, Colo., entered a guilty plea to a two-count indictment charging him with coercing a woman to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution, and traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of promoting prostitution. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Lynch will be sentenced to six years in federal prison to be served consecutive to the four years he already has served in state custody based on related-state charges.
On March 24, 2011, a federal criminal complaint was filed charging Lynch with coercing a woman to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution. Thereafter, on July 27, 2011, an indictment was filed charging Lynch with coercing the victim to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution and traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of promoting prostitution. The criminal complaint and indictment remained under seal until Oct. 2014, while state prosecutors proceeded with the prosecution of related-state charges against Lynch. On April 7, 2015, Lynch was arrested on the federal charges after he was transferred from state custody to federal custody.
According to court documents, the FBI and APD initiated a federal human trafficking investigation into Lynch on March 22, 2011, the day after Lynch was arrested by APD on state charges. The investigation revealed that between Dec. 2010 and March 2011, Lynch coerced the victim to travel to Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri and New Mexico for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. Lynch and the victim remained in each location for a week or two, staying in different hotels, where the victim performed sexual acts with customers who responded to advertisements placed by Lynch on a website commonly used to post ads for prostitution.
Court documents reflect that initially, the victim was required to pay fifty percent of her earnings to Lynch but beginning in Jan. 2011, Lynch took all of the victim’s earnings, giving her only enough money to pay for the hotel room, food and basic necessities. Also in Jan. 2011, Lynch verbally threatened the victim, who felt that she could not stop working as a prostitute for Lynch. In Feb. 2011, Lynch allegedly held a knife to the victim’s throat and threatened her because she was not making enough money and “wasn’t nice enough” to the customers.
Lynch and the victim were arrested by APD on March 21, 2011, after APD responded to an ad placed by Lynch on a website commonly used to post ads for prostitution. After her arrest, the victim told officers that she wanted to leave Lynch and stop working as a prostitute but was afraid that Lynch would “track her down and kill her” if she left. The victim said she felt coerced to engage in prostitution for Lynch because of his threats against her and his control of her earnings.
During today’s change of plea hearing, Lynch entered guilty pleas to both counts of the indictment. In his plea agreement, Lynch admitted that from Nov. 1, 2011 through March 21, 2011, he coerced the victim to travel in interstate commerce from Colorado to New Mexico and other places to engage in prostitution. Lynch also acknowledged that he traveled in interstate commerce to promote and facilitate prostitution.
Lynch remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
“Human trafficking causes unimaginable pain, desperation and despair, and the fear of violence and other reprisals all too often keep victims from reporting this heinous crime,” said U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez. “This prosecution sends a clear message that the United States will not tolerate modern-day slavery and will work tirelessly to restore the rights and dignity of the victims of human trafficking crimes.”
“Unfortunately, human trafficking continues to occur in our society, and the FBI is committed to combating this reprehensible crime wherever we find it,” said Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. “I am proud of the work of the FBI Special Agents and Professional Support staff on this case, and I thank the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Albuquerque Police Department for their invaluable assistance. If you are the victim of human trafficking or have information about such a crime, I urge you to call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.”
“The Albuquerque Police Department works closely with our law enforcement partners to proactively target predators involved in human trafficking,” said Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department. “Like the victim in this case, victims of human trafficking are exploited as a reusable commodity by those who force them to participate in the sex trafficking industry. APD is proud to work with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect and rescue victims who are unable to defend themselves.”
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and APD, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman Cairns and Kimberly A. Brawley.