Additional defendants charged with trafficking young girls for sex
HOUSTON – Three more people have been indicted and additional charges filed in human trafficking conspiracy involving young runaway girls on what it known as the “Blade,” announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery
Law enforcement arrested Chantel Deshay Collins, 28, Houston, and Asia Monae Hailey aka Momo, 21, Galveston, this morning. They are expected to appear for an initial appearance tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Andrew Edison. Michael Gonzalez aka Mumbles, 21, Houston, is currently in Harris County jail on other charges and is expected to be transferred to federal court to answer these charges by the end of the week.
Also charged are Clarence Chambers aka Chris aka Crazzi Chris, 29, Javon Opoku aka Glizzy, 20, Damarquis McGee aka Lil Blue, 23, Jerreck Hilliard, aka JMoney, Vanessa Sillabi aka Chocolate, 21, and Andres Portillo aka Andro, 20. They are also expected to appear on the new charges in the superseding indictment Dec. 23 before Judge Edison.
The defendants are charged with trafficking young runaway girls on what it known as the “Blade” or the Bissonnet Track. This is an area near Southwest 59 Freeway and Bissonnet Street in Houston where traffickers commonly place their victims, according to the charges.
In addition to the sex trafficking allegations, the superseding indictment includes new charges against many for kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a child, attempted obstruction of justice and attempted coercion/enticement of a child.
According to the superseding indictment, the defendants worked to recruit underage teenage girls and forced them to engage in sex acts for money in cars and hotels around the Blade. They allegedly passed around or reassigned victims amongst one another, taught each other “the pimp game” and required the young girls to walk the Blade and sell their bodies. They also kept the proceeds, according to the charges.
The superseding indictment further alleges if any of the girls wanted to switch between pimps, they would have to pay an exit fee or get “beat out” to do so. In one instance, a minor girl had allegedly wandered onto a rival pimp’s territory. The charges allege she was kidnapped and raped as a consequence.
Some of those charged also required daily quotas each night from their victims, according to the charges. The superseding indictment further alleges if the girls failed to meet their daily quotas, they were severely punished through beatings and humiliation. In some cases, pimps allegedly instructed other females to carry out these beatings as punishment. At other times, some defendants worked with the pimps to help harbor, manage, maintain, transport or collect sex trafficking proceeds from the minor victims, according to the charges.
If convicted, they all could face up to life in prison.
The Houston Police Department initiated the investigation and later partnered with Homeland Security Investigations and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as part of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA). Established in 2004, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston formed HTRA to combine resources with federal, state and local enforcement agencies and prosecutors, as well as non-governmental service organizations to target human traffickers while providing necessary services to those that the traffickers victimized. Since its inception, HTRA has been recognized as both a national and international model in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking and prosecuting those engaged in trafficking offenses.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Bennett and Kate Suh are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law .