Man Using False Identity Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison On International Sex Trafficking
First time recently enacted extraterritorial jurisdiction provision of our anti-trafficking laws is used to charge sex trafficking occurring in another country
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and Wendy A. Bashnan, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), Miami Field Office, announce that Damion St. Patrick Baston, 37, of Jamaica, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga to 324 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
On July 1, 2014, Baston was convicted by a jury of all of the crimes with which he was charged: three counts of sex trafficking through means of force, threats of force, fraud, and coercion, both in the Southern District of Florida and in multiple countries around the world, including Australia, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1591(a)(1) and 1596; five counts of transporting multiple individuals for prostitution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2421; one count of importation of an alien for prostitution, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1328; one count of use of a passport secured by false statement, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1542; one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A; one count of illegal reentry of an alien previously ordered removed, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1326; and nine counts of money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956.
According to the indictment, other documents filed in federal court and statements made, beginning as early as 2009, Baston victimized seven women in the Middle East, Australia, and the United States. At trial, six victims bravely testified that the defendant had used force, threats, and coercion to traffic them for sex in various cities, including Miami. Baston had been ordered removed from the United States in the late 1990s following his conviction for an aggravated felony, but thereafter stole the identity of an American citizen, which he used to obtain a Florida driver’s license and U.S. passport in that person’s name. Baston used this false identity for international travel as he continued to recruit and victimize women.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and DS, as well as the Australian Federal Police. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Olivia S. Choe and Roy K. Altman.
Human trafficking must stop. To report suspected human trafficking occurring in South Florida, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.