Sex Trafficker of Minors Found Guilty by Federal Jury
Criminal Used Gun, Drugs, Violence to Force Minors to Have Sex in Exchange for Money
Jackson, Miss. – After a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, a federal jury in Jackson found Willie Charles Blackmon, Jr., 36, of Jackson, guilty on Thursday of two counts of sex trafficking minors through force, fraud, maintaining and harboring the minors for commercial sex acts, and two counts of advertising and promoting prostitution, announced United States Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi.
Beginning in July 2014 and continuing through March 2016, agents with the Jackson FBI, Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, FBI New Orleans Violent Crimes against Children Task Force, Clinton Police Department and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated Willie Charles Blackmon, Jr.’s prostitution ring. Blackmon purchased a runaway minor for $500 and recruited runaway minors for prostitution. Blackmon knew the minors would engage in commercial sex acts with men for money. Blackmon would rent rooms at local hotels in Jackson and Vicksburg for the minors for days at a time. Blackmon kept most, if not all, of the money earned by the minors from the sex acts. The evidence showed that Blackmon would physically harm the minors and threaten them by holding a gun to their heads if they did not perform or if they disrespected him. He also provided drugs to the minors.
"This criminal deserves the harshest punishment under the law for harming, threatening and drugging children to do unspeakable things for money. I commend our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, as well as our prosecutors and support staff, for bringing this monster to justice and rescuing these victims. I would ask the public to help us by continuing to be vigilant to these crimes that occur all around us and promptly reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement," said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
Judge Carlton Reeves will sentence Blackmon on March 4, 2019 at 9:00 am. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, and fines of up to $1 million.
This case was investigated by the FBI Jackson Division’s Child Exploitation Task Force, with assistance from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, FBI New Orleans Child Exploitation Task Force, Clinton Police Department and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Glenda R. Haynes and Keith French prosecuted the case.
The case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative 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 (CEOS), 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.