Monroe County Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin and Sex Trafficking Conspiracies
SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a Monroe County man pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion in Scranton, to participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy that stretched from Stroudsburg to New York to the state of Maine, and a sex trafficking conspiracy in which young women were forced or coerced into engaging in prostitution in northeastern Pennsylvania.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the defendant, Sirvonn Taylor, age 33, of Pocono Summit, admitted to conspiring with others to commit drug trafficking and sex trafficking crimes between 2012 and 2014.
Taylor was indicted along with six other people by a federal grand jury sitting in Scranton in September 2015, as a result of an investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police, Maine State Police, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and local police in Monroe County.
The indictment alleges that Taylor and his co-defendants formed, joined and participated in a street gang known as the Black P-Stones; that male gang members were “beaten-in” to the gang and female members were “sexed-in” to the gang. The indictment further alleges that Taylor and his co-conspirators obtained heroin in New York and distributed the heroin in Stroudsburg and locations in the state of Maine. According to the indictment, couriers were used to transport heroin from New York to Maine.
The indictment alleges that females were “sexed-in” to the gang by being forced to engage in sex with male gang members; recruited and coerced to engage in prostitution; advertised as adult escorts on a website; provided with heroin and other drugs; and placed in various area hotels/motels to work as prostitutes. It is alleged that the sex trafficking defendants used threats, force, and intimidation to coerce females to engage in prostitution.
In today’s proceeding, Taylor pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute in excess of one kilogram of heroin, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force or coercion. He faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence for the drug conspiracy charge, and a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence for the sex trafficking charge. He faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison for each charge.
Others charged in the indictment are:
- Jose Velazquez, age 25, of Tobyhanna: conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force and coercion;
- Selena Bayer-Davis, age 21, of St. Matthews, South Carolina: conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force and coercion;
- Ricquell Lindo, age 21, of Augusta, Maine: conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin;
- Stephon Davis, age 19, of Augusta, Maine: conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin;
- Sean Griffin, age 21, of East Stroudsburg: conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin; and
- Brianni Gomez, age 19, of Paterson, NJ: conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative
launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.