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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Texas Man Sentenced in New Mexico to Federal Prison for Transporting Woman Across State Lines for Prostitution

ALBUQUERQUE – Markell Quashan Sweargin, 20, of Lubbock, Tex., was sentenced this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 30 months in prison for transporting a person in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.  Sweargin will be on supervised release for 15 years after completing his prison sentence.

Sweargin was arrested in June 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with transporting a person in interstate commerce for the purpose of forcing the person to engage in a commercial sex act.  According to the complaint, on June 14, 2017, officers of the Hobbs Police Department arrested Sweargin on state charges after responding to a domestic disturbance call from a woman (victim) who claimed that Sweargin strangled and assaulted her during an altercation arising from her refusal to engage in a sexual act with another man for money. 

According to the criminal complaint, Sweargin, the victim and another person traveled from Lubbock to a hotel in Hobbs, N.M.  Once in the hotel room, Sweargin attempted to coerce the victim into having sex with other men for money, and became angry when the victim refused.  When Sweargin and the other person left the hotel room, a man came to the room with the expectation of having sex with the victim.  After the victim refused to have sex with him, the man departed the room after telling the victim that he had come in response to an advertisement on a webpage known to advertise prostitution services.  When Sweargin returned to the hotel room, he was very angry because the victim did not have sex with the man in return for money, began to hit the victim, and blocked the door to the hotel room to prevent the victim or the third person from leaving.  The victim and third person fled from the room when Sweargin stepped away from the door.

On Sept. 7, 2018, Sweargin pled guilty to a felony information charging him with transporting a person across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.  In entering the guilty plea, Sweargin admitted that on June 14, 2017, he traveled from Lubbock to Hobbs with the victim with the intention of having the victim engage in prostitution in New Mexico.

This case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations Las Cruces office and the Hobbs Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa A. Ong and Aaron O. Jordan of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated July 19, 2018