Las Vegas Men Convicted of Transporting Two Minor Girls from Nevada to California to Work as Prostitutes
LAS VEGAS, NV—Two men who were arrested last year as part of a joint law enforcement operation to catch child predators in southern Nevada, “Operation Protect the Powerless,” have been convicted in federal court of sex trafficking and prostitution crimes for transporting two minor girls from Nevada to southern California to work as prostitutes, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
“We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases involving the exploitation of minors as part of our implementation of the Project Safe Childhood initiative in Nevada,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “This case demonstrates the excellent and effective partnerships that have been developed between local and federal law enforcement officers and agents to identify and prosecute these sexual predators.”
Following a five-day jury trial, Sha-Ron Haines, 20, was convicted on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child, one count of sex trafficking of a child, one count of conspiracy to transport a minor for prostitution or other illegal sexual activity, and one count of transportation of a minor for prostitution. Haines is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8, and faces a minimum of 10 years to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Tyral Edward King, 19, pleaded guilty on Aug. 14, 2015, to one count of transportation of an individual for the purpose of prostitution. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10, and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the court records and evidence introduced at trial, the investigation commenced on June 24, 2014, when a Clark County probation officer notified a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer that a 15-year-old female might be involved in prostitution. Further investigation revealed that in May 2014, Haines and King had driven the 15-year-old female, identified in the court filings as “JC,” and a 17-year-old female, identified in the court filings as “AS,” from Las Vegas to Pomona, Calif. and Los Angeles, Calif., with the intent that they engage in prostitution. King’s name and credit card were used to purchase online advertisements on an Internet site commonly used by prostitutes and pimps called, “Backpage,” to set up prostitution dates for JC and AS in California. During May, JC and AS then engaged in prostitution acts in California, and all of the money they earned was turned over to Haines and King. On May 22, 2014, AS was arrested by an undercover Los Angeles police officer who had responded to one of the advertisements on “Backpage,” and had met AS at a hotel for sex. JC later returned home to Las Vegas on a bus.
A federal criminal complaint was filed against King on July 24, 2014. Haines and King were then indicted by the federal grand jury on Aug. 6, 2014.
Operation Protect the Powerless was organized and led by the Project Safe Childhood (PSC) Task Force in southern Nevada, and targeted child traffickers, persons who were coercing and enticing minors for sex, child pornographers, child molesters and child rapists. Members of the PSC Task Force include the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Henderson Police Department, Clark County D.A.’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service. Operation Protect the Powerless occurred from June 1 to Dec. 31, 2014, and resulted in the prosecution and conviction of 219 persons, the execution of 100 search warrants, and the recovery of over 500,000 images and 2,700 videos of child rape and pornography. The surge also resulted in prosecutions are being handled jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Clark County District Attorney’s Office, and resulted in distinct charges in federal and state court.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lisa C. Cartier-Giroux and Susan Cushman.
PSC is a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about PSC, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.