Providence Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Sex Trafficking, Conspiracy to Traffic Heroin
PROVIDENCE, RI—Damien Beverly, 29, of Providence, has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that he trafficked two women from Boston to Rhode Island for the purposes of offering them for commercial sexual activity and that he conspired to traffic heroin, which he provided to the women as payment, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for New England, and Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on Thursday, Beverly pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, two counts of transportation to engage in prostitution and one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.
A second individual charged in this matter, Tariq Rosario, 28, of Boston, Mass., pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.
According to court records and information presented to the court, an investigation by agents from Homeland Security Investigations and members of the Rhode Island State Police, law enforcement members of the Rhode Island Human Trafficking Task Force, in June or July 2014, Damien Beverly encountered one of the victims in downtown Boston. The woman was brought to a hotel room in Warwick rented by Beverly, where he photographed her and persuaded her to post an advertisement on Backpage.com, with the intent that she engage in commercial sexual activity. Over the next several days, several individuals responded to the advertisement. All of the money collected by the victim was turned over to Beverly, who in exchange provided the woman with heroin that he obtained from Tariq Rosario.
In September 2014, Beverly met a second woman on the streets of Boston where she was homeless and addicted to heroin and cocaine. He persuaded her to travel to Rhode Island, promising her that he would provide her with housing and drugs in exchange for working as a prostitute. The woman resided with Beverly in Providence, during which time they posted numerous advertisements on Backpage.com offering the woman for commercial sexual activity. All of the money earned by the victim was turned over to Beverly in exchange for housing, food and a daily supply of heroin.
In late September or early October 2014, the first victim, who had since returned to Boston, was persuaded to return to Rhode Island, and to live and work with Beverly and the second victim. All of the money earned by both women was turned over to Beverly. In exchange for working as prostitutes, Beverly provided the victims with between 3-5 grams of heroin daily, which he obtained from Tariq Rosario.
Based on information developed by the Rhode Island Human Trafficking Task Force, in January 2015, members of the Rhode Island State Police, and HSI and FBI agents executed a court authorized search warrant at the Providence residence where the victims were staying with Beverly. Beverly was detained and the victims were rescued by law enforcement and provided support services.
Damien Beverly, who has been detained since his arrest on January 13, 2015, and Tariq Rosario, who has been detained since his arrest on September 18, 2015, are scheduled to be sentenced on February 5, 2016.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adi Goldstein.