“Lavish” Bissonnet sex trafficker facing life in prison
HOUSTON - A 46-year-old Houston man has been taken into custody on charges of sex trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Larry Odell Lewis expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew M. Edison at 2pm today.
A federal grand jury returned the eight-count indictment June 2 which was unsealed upon his arrest late June 8.
Self-proclaimed as “Lavish,” Lewis allegedly used force, fraud and coercion to cause four adult women to engage in commercial sex. The indictment alleges some of the acts occurred on the Bissonnet Track, an area of Houston known to be plagued by prostitution and prostitution-related crimes.
He also coerced the women to do similar acts across state lines, according to the charges.
If convicted, Lewis faces up to life imprisonment and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The Department of Public Safety and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation with assistance from the FBI as part of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA).
Established in 2004, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston formed the 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 a national model in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking and prosecuting those engaged in trafficking offenses.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sebastian A. Edwards and Christine Lu 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.