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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Friday, October 7, 2016

Federal Jury Finds Albuquerque Man Guilty on Commercial Sex Trafficking Charge

At Sentencing, Shane Roach Faces Statutory Mandatory Minimum of 15 Years to Maximum of Life in Prison

ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., returned a verdict this morning finding Shane Roach, 27, guilty on a commercial sex trafficking charge, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Chief Gorden G. Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

Roach, an Albuquerque resident, was arrested on July 1, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with commercial sex trafficking.  Roach subsequently was indicted and charged with using force, threats of threats, and coercion to force a victim to engage in commercial sex acts.  The indictment alleged that Roach committed the offense between May and June of 2015 in Bernalillo County, N.M.

Trial of Roach on the commercial sex trafficking charge began on Oct. 4, 2016 and concluded this morning when the jury returned a guilty verdict against Roach. 

The victim, who testified at trial, told the jury that in early 2015 she was a heroin addict who turned to prostitution to support her heroin habit.  The victim met Roach in late April 2015, and turned to him for help shortly thereafter when she fell on hard times.  For the next month and a half, Roach was the victim’s pimp and forced her to engage in prostitution.  The victim said that, during that time, Roach forced her to engage in sex with men four or five times a day, and that Roach kept all her earnings, amounting to $400.00 to $500.00 a day.  The victim also testified that Roach beat her on a number of occasions, brandished a firearm at her, and threatened to harm her family if she left him.  During the month and a half during which she was sex trafficked by Roach, the victim had only three or four days off.

An APD detective testified that on May 27, 2015, while acting in an undercover capacity, he arranged to meet the victim at an Albuquerque-area hotel after getting her contact information from an online prostitution advertisement.  The meeting was brief because the victim recognized the detective’s partner, who was outside, as a police officer, and told the undercover officer that there were officers outside.  The undercover officer testified that, on June 10, 2015, APD received a call for help from the victim and he was one of the officers who responded.  During that meeting, the victim told APD that she was being sex trafficked by Roach, and the investigation leading to Roach’s conviction began that day.

Roach testified in his own defense.  While generally acknowledging that he was the victim’s pimp, Roach denied using threats of force, force or coercion to force to the victim to engage in commercial sex acts.

The jury deliberated about three hours before returning a guilty verdict.

The judge ordered Roach to surrender himself to the U.S. Marshals Service by 3:00 p.m. today.  Roach is to be detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Roach faces a statutory mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison.

This case was investigated by the HSI office in Albuquerque and APD’s Vice Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman Cairns and Kimberly A. Brawley are prosecuting the case.

Human Trafficking
Updated October 7, 2016