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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 24, 2016

Las Vegas Man Convicted of Sex Trafficking

Transported Juvenile and Adult Females and Coerced them into Prostitution

          A 34 year old Las Vegas man was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of three federal felonies arising out of his transportation of two juveniles for the purpose of prostitution and sex trafficking of an adult woman through force, fraud, and coercion, 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.  The jury deliberated about eight hours following a seven day trial.  U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones scheduled sentencing for September 30, 2016.

            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 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 rescued 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 the juveniles to work for him as prostitutes.

            POWELL faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and up to life in prison for the felony convictions.  He 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.

            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: 
Human Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated June 24, 2016