Department of Justice Charges Six Defendants in Connection with Violent Sex Trafficking Scheme
WASHINGTON—The Department of Justice announced today a second superseding indictment in a sex trafficking conspiracy charging six individuals for offenses related to their involvement in sex trafficking adult victims in New Orleans and elsewhere. Five defendants, Granville Robinson, aka “Bear” and “HB,” 25; Duane Phillips, aka “P-nut,” 28; Anthony Ellis, aka “Anthony Deshun Lloyd,” “Animal,” and “AD,” 25; Christopher Williams, aka “Gutter,” 29; and LaQuentin Brown, aka “Nino,” 32, all of Memphis, Tennessee, were charged with conspiring to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion. A sixth defendant, Kanubhai Patel, aka “Mr. Kenny” and “Pop,” 73, of Kenner, Louisiana, was indicted for benefitting financially from participating in a sex trafficking venture.
According to the indictment, from January 2013, until Jan. 15, 2014, Robinson, Phillips, Ellis, Williams and Brown conspired to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain and maintain multiple adult women for prostitution, using force, threats of force, fraud and coercion to cause them to engage in commercial sex acts in New Orleans and elsewhere. In addition to being charged with sex trafficking conspiracy, defendants Robinson, Phillips and Williams are each charged with additional counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and with transporting women in interstate commerce for the purpose of prostitution.
If convicted of sex trafficking conspiracy, defendants Robinson, Phillips, Ellis, Williams and Brown each face a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. If convicted of transportation for prostitution, Robinson, Phillips and Williams each face a statutory maximum of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release.
If convicted of benefitting financially from participation in a sex trafficking venture, Patel faces a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.
A seventh defendant who was previously charged in connection with the case, Zacchaeus Taylor, aka “Little Z,” “Little Zay,” and “Little 5,” 21, also of Memphis Tennessee, pleaded guilty on June 25, 2014, to sex trafficking, conspiring and transporting women across state lines for prostitution. He is currently awaiting sentencing.
An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated jointly by agents from the New Orleans Field Offices of the FBI and ICE Homeland Security Investigations as well as the FBI’s Memphis Field Office. This case is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel John Cotton Richmond and Trial Attorney Christine M. Siscaretti of the Civil Right Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, and Assistant United States Attorney Julia K. Evans of the Eastern District of Louisiana.