Jury Convicts Three Gang Members and a Former El Paso County Juvenile Probation Officer of Federal Sex Trafficking Charges
In El Paso, a federal jury convicted four Folk Nation/Gangster Disciples members, one of whom was a former juvenile probation officer, of federal sex trafficking charges announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.
On Friday, jurors returned guilty verdicts against gang members Deion Lockhart, age 26, Richard Gray, age 25, and Emmanual Lockhart, age 24, and Timothy McCullouch, Jr. a 29-year-old former El Paso County juvenile probation officer of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of persons. Jurors also convicted: Deion Lockhart of one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and one count of aiding and abetting sex trafficking of children; Richard Gray, one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, one count of sex trafficking of children and one count of transportation for prostitution; and, Timothy McCullouch, one count of sex trafficking of children.
Testimony during trial revealed that between May 2012 and March 2013, the defendants were involved in the forced prostitution of juveniles and adults by the Folk Nation/Gangster Disciples street gang. The defendants used a combination of force, fraud, and coercion to compel their victims to engage in sexual activities for money in El Paso; Killeen, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV; and, in Colorado.
Each defendant faces up to life in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for April 2015, before U.S. District Judge Philip R. Martinez.
Two fellow gang members and co-defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial. In May of last year, Tai Von Lynch and Brandon Shapiro pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of persons. On October 28, 2014, Lynch was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. Shapiro, who remains in custody, is awaiting sentencing scheduled for February. He faces an agreed sentence of five years in federal prison.
In a separate, but related matter, Folk Nation/Gangster Disciples members Kiry Hakeem Nalls, age 25, and Grant Rutledge, age 25, were sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a forced prostitution scheme. In April 2014, Nalls was sentenced to ten years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release and fined $2,500 after pleading guilty to one count of forced labor. In March 2014, Rutlege was sentenced to ten months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release and fined $500 after pleading guilty to one count of misprision of felony.
These task force investigations were conducted by the ACTeam (Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team) comprised of personnel from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of Labor and the United States Attorney’s Office together with the El Paso Police Department Gang Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“This verdict is a major victory for HSI and its law enforcement partners within the ACTeam,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez. “HSI plans to employ its ample authority, resources and resolve to investigate human trafficking activity in our community, identify and rescue victims, and bring traffickers to justice.”
“The FBI has a zero tolerance on Human Trafficking and all traffickers, whether gang members or government employees, and will be aggressively pursued and held accountable,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.
Assistant United States Attorneys Rifian Newaz and Robert Almonte are prosecuting these cases on behalf of the Government.