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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 4, 2016

Six Men Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Sex Trafficking Of Minors

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) announced the unsealing this morning of an indictment charging six defendants:  NASHEAN FOLDS, a/k/a “Snow,” a/k/a “Nae Heffner,” DAVID HIGHTOWER, a/k/a “Haze,” GREGORY LUCK, a/k/a “Boogz,” a/k/a “Boogley,” TREMAIN MOORE, a/k/a “Trey Dub,” a/k/a, “Frass,” COREY ROPER, a/k/a “Sneaks,” and ANTWONE WASHINGTON, a/k/a “Bigbank Gotti,” a/k/a “Adam Reyes.”  Each defendant was charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, sex trafficking of minors, and conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce and use facilities in interstate commerce to promote sex trafficking.  ROPER was also charged with kidnapping.  HIGHTOWER and MOORE were arrested on June 13, 2016 pursuant to a criminal complaint containing related charges and have been in federal custody since that time.  LUCK, FOLDS, and ROPER were arrested yesterday and presented in Manhattan federal court before Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses.  WASHINGTON remains at large.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “The six defendants in this case allegedly trafficked minors for the purpose of using them as sex workers.  The defendants’ alleged crime is particularly insidious in that they selected the victims specifically because of their vulnerable nature and their inability to fend for themselves. This office, along with our law enforcement partners at the FBI and NYPD, will continue to find, investigate and prosecute those engaged in sex trafficking.”  

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said:  “Contrary to what some believe, the teenagers who get tangled up in the sex trade don’t do it for fun when they are abused and belittled by their pimps.  These men allegedly knew exactly how to manipulate the girls in this case, and used their vulnerabilities against them so the subjects could make some cash.  The FBI and our law enforcement partners are out every day and night doing all we can to track down the victims and stop the pimps from moving on to their next targets.” 

New York Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “As alleged, the individuals preyed upon the vulnerable and uneducated, exploiting children for sex and profit. Protecting children is the most important work this department does. I am particularly proud of the detectives and agents who arrested those who carried out these heinous crimes that are alleged in today’s indictment.”

As alleged in the Indictment, the Complaint against HIGHTOWER and MOORE, and in other documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court[1]:

Beginning in or about February 2015 through the present, each of the defendants agreed to engage in sex trafficking of minor female victims, and actually did traffic at least four minor female victims in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, and also agreed to travel in interstate commerce and use facilities of interstate commerce to promote their sex trafficking activities.

ROPER is also charged with kidnapping a female victim in or about February 2016.

As explained in the Complaint, sex traffickers like the defendants typically recruit vulnerable minor victims who lack education, a stable home, family support, and who have suffered past physical and emotional trauma.  Sex traffickers often use their minor victims’ need for shelter, stability, and affection as a means to sexually exploit their victims for their own financial gain.  Similarly, such sex traffickers or pimps often prey on young adult women who suffer many of the same vulnerabilities.  Once these sex traffickers have recruited victims, they advertise them on websites dedicated to “escort” services and on classifieds websites.  To evade detection by law enforcement, advertisements are posted in the adult entertainment section of the website and purport to offer individuals as mere escorts, but the advertisements signal that they are, in fact, offering individuals for sale for commercial sex acts.

It is also common for domestic sex traffickers to set rules for their victims, control their actions, and take their earnings.  Often, if a victim violates one of the rules set by a sex trafficker, punishment is meted out in the form of physical violence.  A violation of the rules could include, among other things, failing to answer the trafficker’s phone calls, leaving the area where the victim is supposed to be soliciting or servicing customers, not making enough money for the day, or holding back money from the sex trafficker.

In or about March 2016, prior to being charged in the Complaint, MOORE and HIGHTOWER were arrested on state charges after they brought three minor victims to Athens, Georgia, to promote their sex trafficking enterprise.   

*                      *                     *

FOLDS, 20, is from Staten Island; LUCK, 20, WASHINGTON, 24, ROPER, 24, HIGHTOWER, 23, and MOORE, 22, are all from Queens, New York.  All of the defendants face a maximum term of life in prison.  

The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentences imposed on the defendants will be determined by the Court.

A chart containing the names of the defendants, and the charges and maximum penalties they face, is attached.        

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Police Department’s Human Trafficking Team and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney’s Office for Athens-Clarke County, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Office of the State Attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Nassau County Police Department, the Office of the Middlesex County Prosecutor, and the Edison New Jersey Police Department for their critical support and cooperation throughout the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda L. Houle and Lara Pomerantz are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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CHARGES

DEFENDANTS

MAXIMUM PENALTIES

Sex trafficking conspiracy

NASHEAN FOLDS

DAVID HIGHTOWER

GREGORY LUCK

TREMAINE MOORE

COREY ROPER

ANTWONE WASHINGTON

Life in prison

 

 

Sex trafficking of a minor

NASHEAN FOLDS

DAVID HIGHTOWER

GREGORY LUCK

TREMAINE MOORE

COREY ROPER

ANTWONE WASHINGTON

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum: 15 years in prison

Kidnapping

COREY ROPER

Life in prison

 

Conspiracy to use and travel in interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity

NASHEAN FOLDS

DAVID HIGHTOWER

GREGORY LUCK

TREMAINE MOORE

COREY ROPER

ANTWONE WASHINGTON

5 years in prison

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

16-218
Updated August 4, 2016