Leader of Sex Trafficking of Minors Conspiracy Sent to Prison for Life
GALVESTON, Texas – The 40-year-old Galveston man who led a sex trafficking ring has been ordered to federal prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. A jury sitting in Galveston returned guilty verdicts against Charles Devan Fulton Sr. on July 6, 2016, for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and four counts of sex trafficking of minors following a six-day trial and approximately four hours of deliberation. Three others - Charmell Latonya Potts, Dominique Warner, and Lawrence James Julian, had previously pleaded guilty for their respective roles.
Today, U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. ordered Fulton to serve life in prison. In handing down the sentence, Judge Hanks called him a “very dangerous man” and mentioned the defendant seemed willing to do anything or use anyone to get what he wanted. The court further noted that while speaking on his own behalf today, Fulton never showed any remorse nor any feeling for the harm that befell the victims, only indicating how much this has hurt him and his family. At the hearing today, the defense attempted to convince the court that Fulton deserved leniency, mentioning that he was not really a violent criminal such as a bank robber. The government, in opposition, told the court that what he did was worse, as Fulton stole the victims’ innocence and dignity and that no amount of money could ever make up for that. As he was imposing the sentence, Judge Hanks commented that the court speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves – for those that were victimized and terrorized by this defendant.
Julian, Warner and Potts are set for sentencing tomorrow.
At the trial, the jury found Fulton engaged in a conspiracy with the others between June 1, 2014, through April 1, 2015, in which they engaged in conspiracy to recruit, entice and harbor minors to engage in sex trafficking. Fulton aka “Black” or “Blacc,” was the leader of the group and ordered Potts to post pictures of two of the identified minor victims in prostitution ads on line. Warner aka “Meathead,” Julian aka “Wolf” and Potts also drove the minor females to hotels where the minors would engage in commercial sex acts.
The jury heard that the minors engaged in hundreds of commercial sex acts over the course of the conspiracy. The victims testified at trial, as did Potts, that Fulton would keep the money the children earned performing commercial sex acts. The jury also heard that Fulton used force, threats of force, fraud or coercion against two of the victims. In addition, testimony revealed Fulton had sex with the victims knowing they were minors, that he provided them with drugs and he had no legitimate source of income.
Fulton attempted to convey his innocence and that police were just out to get him. The jury was not convinced and found him guilty on five counts.
All have been and will remain in custody.
The FBI and the Galveston Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sherri Zack and Julie Searle prosecuted the case which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."