Elyria Man Convicted on Human Trafficking, Drug Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 18, 2014|
An Elyria man was convicted of human trafficking, drug crimes, and obstruction of justice after forcing four females, including a 16-year-old girl, to have sex for money, law enforcement officials said.
Jeremy Mack, 38, of Elyria, was found guilty by a jury on all nine counts following a weeklong trial. U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi scheduled sentencing for May 29.
“With today’s verdict, Jeremy Mack’s time roaming our community and preying on the most vulnerable will finally come to an end,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
“The FBI is pleased with the guilty verdict for the despicable acts committed by Jeremy Mack,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office. “Thankfully, Mr. Mack will not be able to prey on and victimize children from where he is—behind bars.”
“This is an example of local police and federal law enforcement working together to make our community safer,” said Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely.
Ashley Onysko, 24, of Avon Lake, previously pleaded guilty to charges related to her role in the conspiracy.
Count one charges that between December 2012 and April 9, 2013, Mack and Onysko conspired together to provide heroin and/or cocaine to four females and then, after the victims incurred drug debts, used force, threats of force, fraud, and coercion to compel them to engage in commercial sex acts.
They did this, in part, by posting photographs of the females on backpage.com on a user account that Mack and Onysko created, according to the indictment.
In March 2013, Victim 2, a 16-year-old minor, went to Mack’s residence in Elyria after school, at which time Mack gave her cocaine. Mack later told and caused others to tell Victim 2 that she needed to engage in commercial sex acts. She did, after which she turned over all proceeds to Mack, according to the indictment.
From March through April 9, 2013, Mack brandished a firearm in front of three of the females. He choked and threatened to kill one of the female victims, according to the indictment.
Counts two through five charged Mack with forcing each of the four victims to engage in commercial sex acts by using force, threats of force, fraud, and coercion.
Counts six and seven charged Mack with distribution of heroin and cocaine, respectively.
Counts eight and nine charged Mack with obstruction of justice. Count eight charged Mack with advising his son, identified only as T.L., to “stick with the script” when testifying before the federal grand jury. Count nine charged Mack with providing money to Onysko in May 2013 to purchase personal items for Victim 4 and to advise the victim not to “flip.” He also told the victim not to speak with FBI agents attempting to contact her and advising her not to make incriminating statements against Mack, according to the indictment.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bridget M. Brennan and Carole Skutnik following an investigation by the FBI and Elyria Police Department.