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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Blythewood Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking and Heroin Distribution Offenses

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — Brian Leroy Watson, a/k/a “Lil B,” a/k/a “B,” 50, of Blythewood, has pleaded guilty to attempted sex trafficking of a minor and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a quantity of heroin.

Evidence obtained in the investigation revealed that in January and February 2016, Watson attempted to exploit a minor female victim in commercial sex.  In March 2016, the victim disclosed to law enforcement that Watson, a heroin and crack cocaine dealer, sexually assaulted her. Watson was interviewed by law enforcement, and he denied assaulting the victim and instead said he was prostituting her. 

Advertisements from Backpage.com linked to Watson’s cell phone number and e-mail address showed the minor victim was advertised for commercial sex.  Text messages from Watson’s phone also provided evidence that Watson knew the victim was a minor, and that he distributed heroin to and sexually exploited the minor victim.  Another purported victim of Watson’s also told FBI that Watson exploited the minor victim in commercial sex.  Numerous witnesses told FBI that Watson manipulated the withdraw symptoms and drug dependance of women to obtain commercial sex for his financial gain.

As for the heroin distribution conviction, Watson sold a quantity of heroin on August 29, 2016 to an undercover officer with the Richland County Sherriff’s Department.  Watson negotiated the sale of heroin with officer, which occurred at his residence, and Watson carried a pistol in his hand at the time of the drug sale.  The sale was audio and video recorded, and lab tests confirmed what Watson sold was heroin.

Watson faces up to Life in federal prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, restitution to all identifiable victims of his scheme, and a Life term of court-ordered supervision to follow any term of imprisonment.  He also must register as a sex offender upon any release from prison.  United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs accepted the guilty plea and the Court will sentence Watson after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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 sexually exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliott B. Daniels is prosecuting the case.

 

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982
Updated July 27, 2022