Eight Charged with Conspiring to Traffic Minors for Commercial Sex in New Mexico and Arizona
Prosecution Brought under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, Acting Special Agent in Charge Jack P. Staton of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales, III, announced today that eight defendants have been indicted on federal child sex trafficking charges. The defendants are charged with conspiring to sex traffic minors in New Mexico and Arizona, to transport minors to engage in criminal sexual activity, and sex trafficking of minors.
The eight defendants, Chante Bickham, 24, Camara Cherry-Amos, 23, Breeauna Langton, 19, Keron Eugene Lucious, 20, Jason L. Jackson, 23, Devin Perkins, 21, and Andrew Wyatt, 29, all of Albuquerque, and John Dompierre, 54, of Phoenix, Ariz., are charged in an 11-count superseding indictment that was filed on April 10, 2018. The superseding indictment charges the eight defendants with conspiring to recruit and force minors to engage in commercial sex acts, and five of the defendants with transporting a minor in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. It also charges each defendant with sex trafficking of minors. The superseding indictment alleges that the defendants committed the crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M., and elsewhere between Feb. 2017 and Jan. 2018.
Cherry-Amos, Langton, Lucious and Wyatt, who were arrested yesterday, made their initial appearances in federal court in Albuquerque this morning. They remain in custody pending detention hearings, which are scheduled for tomorrow morning, at which time they also will be arraigned on the superseding indictment.
Bickham is in state custody on related state charges and will be transferred into federal custody to answer to the charges in the superseding indictment. Jackson, who was arrested on a related charge in Nov. 2017, is detained on that related charge; his arraignment hearing is currently scheduled for April 16, 2018. Perkins was arrested in Dec. 2017 on a related charge and is detained; his arraignment hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Dompierre has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
Superseding Indictment 17-CR-03246-MV
Charges and Statutory Penalties
Count 1 charges the eight defendants with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors from Feb. 2017 through Jan. 2018, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1594 (a) and (c), and carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a fine of not more than $250,000.
Count 2 charges Bickham, Cherry-Amos, Dompierre, Jackson and Wyatt with conspiracy to transport minors to engage in criminal sexual activity from Nov. 2017 through Jan. 2018, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2423 (a) and (c), and carries a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in prison, and a fine of not more than $250,000.
Counts 3 through 11 charge each of the defendants with sex trafficking of one of two minors on various dates from Feb. 2017 through Jan. 2018, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591 (a) and (b)(2), and carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison, and a fine of not more than $250,000.
Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
The investigation of this case was initiated and led by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, and thereafter was joined by the Albuquerque offices of the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Kraehe is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.