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Press Release

San Antonio Man Sentenced to Two Life Terms Plus 30 Years in Federal Prison in Connection with Sex Trafficking of Minors Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas
Former U.S. Army Lt. Colonel and two other co-defendants also sentenced to prison for roles in the scheme

In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced 38-year-old Marcus Deshawn Wright to two life imprisonment terms for sex trafficking of minors plus 30 years in prison for production of child pornography announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI’s San Antonio Division and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In addition to Wright, Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery sentenced: 22-year-old Malcom Deandre Copeland of San Antonio, to 18 years in federal prison followed by 15 years of supervised release; 41-year-old Raymond Valas, a former U.S. Army Lt. Colonel in the New Hampshire National Guard, to 15 years in federal prison followed by 15 years of supervised release; and, 20-year-old Amber Doak of San Antonio, to six months incarceration followed by 15 years of supervised release.  Judge Biery also ordered that all four defendants be registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives.  Wright, Copeland and Doak were also ordered to pay $1,500 restitution to their victim.

“Today’s sentencings by Chief Judge Biery should make it clear beyond doubt that engaging in the commerce of sex with minors in intolerable and unacceptable.  Those who participate in such exploitation face serious consequences to their liberty,” stated Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.

Last year, separate federal juries convicted Wright, Copeland and Valas of sex trafficking of a minor.  Wright was also convicted of one count of child pornography.  Prior to trial, Doak pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking of minors.

Evidence presented during the trials revealed that in 2013, Doak, at the bidding of Wright and Copeland, encouraged a 15-year-old female, to engage in sexual acts for money.  Using a mobile phone provided by Wright, Doak took pictures of the victim which Wright and Copeland subsequently used to promote her on an Internet website which advertised prostitution services under the pretext of “escorts.”

The evidence also revealed that Doak fielded inquiries from individuals responding to the prostitution advertisement and also traveled with Wright and Copeland as they transported the victim to multiple locations in San Antonio as well as Corpus Christi to engage in commercial sex.  Testimony revealed that Valas solicited the minor female using the internet and that he knowingly had sex with her in a San Antonio hotel on two occasions in August 2013 while on temporary duty.

“Recruiting, exploiting, and transporting juveniles for the purpose of underage prostitution is among the lowest forms of human conduct,” said FBI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge, Christopher Combs.  “Today’s sentences should send a clear message to those who engage in this revolting criminal activity; our children are not for sale.”  

“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of state, local and federal law enforcement authorities, these four defendants were convicted for sex trafficking of minors,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “I congratulate everyone involved for taking these criminals off the streets and out of our communities. Texas has become and will remain a national leader in human trafficking prevention efforts. Together, we will continue to protect survivors and bring traffickers to justice.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) together with the San Antonio Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Bettina Richardson and Special Assistant United States Attorney Geoff Barr from the Texas Attorney General’s Office prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

Updated November 30, 2015

Human Trafficking