You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 28, 2016

Former Las Vegas Man Sentenced to 16+ Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking

Transported Juvenile and Adult Females and Coerced them into Prostitution

          A 34-year-old former Las Vegas man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 198 months in prison and ten years of supervised release for sex trafficking involving juveniles and adults, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  ROBERT RYAN POWELL was convicted of two counts of transportation of a juvenile with intent to engage in prostitution, and one count of sex trafficking an adult victim by force, fraud and coercion.  POWELL was convicted following a seven-day trial in June 2016.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said, “You were a predator of young women, whether teen-agers or adults…. Pimping was your chosen lifestyle….  Today you ask for compassion when you failed to demonstrate any compassion for your victims.”

            “This defendant preyed on vulnerable teens and adult women, callously exploiting them for his financial gain,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “Without hesitation, he used violence and threats to control them.  The lengthy prison sentence imposed today sends a clear message and will ensure that others will not fall victim to his predatory ways.” 

          According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, between January 2014 and January 2015, POWELL used force, fraud and coercion to keep an adult female working for him as a prostitute as he transported her across various western states including Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Idaho and Washington.  POWELL used physical and emotional abuse to keep the woman working as a prostitute and supplying him with all of her earnings. 

            In August 2014, POWELL recruited two juveniles in the Seattle area to work for him as prostitutes.  POWELL transported the two juveniles from Washington to San Jose, California, where he forced them to work as prostitutes and provide him with their earnings.  He then abandoned them in San Jose, where the girls were recovered by law enforcement.  POWELL was arrested in January 2015 in Rapid City, South Dakota where he was sex trafficking two adult women.  He was returned to Western Washington for prosecution.

          POWELL used Backpage.com to advertise the adult female for prostitution dates and used Backpage.com and other social media sites to recruit his victims to work for him as prostitutes.

          POWELL was previously convicted in 2007 of Attempted Pandering in Clark County, Nevada, and in 2009 of Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Orange County, California.

          Judge Jones set a January 2017 hearing to determine the amount of restitution POWELL will be required to pay to his victims.

          The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, with investigative assistance provided by the San Jose Police Department, Rapid City Police Department, the South Dakota Criminal Investigations Division, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Orange Police Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Crisham and Amy Jaquette. 

Topic: 
Cyber Crime
Human Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated October 28, 2016