Three Sentenced in Massive Domestic Sex Trafficking Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 07, 2013|
HOUSTON—Three men have each been ordered to federal prison for 96 months for their convictions in relation to Operation Total Exposure, the largest domestic sex trafficking case in the Southern District of Texas, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. During the course of the investigation, at least one minor was rescued, and other minors and several adults have been returned to their families.
Andre McDaniels, 42, and William Hornbeak, 36, entered guilty pleas September 13, and 24, 2012, respectively, while John Butler, 51; Ronnie Presley, 38; and Jamine Lake, 30, pleaded guilty October 4, 2012. The five men, all of Houston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. In addition to the conspiracy charge, Butler was convicted of one count of transportation. Lake was also convicted of one count of transportation as well as one count of coercion and enticement. Presley and Hornbeak were both also convicted of two counts of coercion and enticement, while Presley was also convicted of two counts of transportation. McDaniels was convicted of one count of coercion and enticement and two counts of transportation.
Today, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes sentenced McDaniels, Lake and Presley to 96-month-terms of federal imprisonment. They each received 60 months on the conspiracy charge and 96 months on each of their respective convictions, all to be served concurrently for a total sentence of 96 months for each defendant. They were all also ordered to serve a 10-year-term of supervised release following completion of their sentences and must each pay a $10,000 fine.
Butler and Hornbeak will be sentenced on January 22.
At the hearing today, one of the victims testified about the emotional and physical abuse she suffered, noting one instance where a gun was placed in her mouth. She further discussed how she was branded with a large tattoo of a black panther on her back to mark her as property.
Court records indicated that the defendants operated commercialized sex businesses often disguised as modeling studios, health spas, massage parlors, and bikini bars in Houston. Further testimony proved they also utilized sexually oriented publications and websites to advertise their illicit business.
Evidence revealed the conspirators recruited women and minors as young as 16 to work as prostitutes and perform commercial sex acts. Members of the criminal enterprise transported women and minors to and from the Houston area and had ties to Kansas, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. The females were instructed to perform certain acts to insure that the customers to whom they were providing sex acts were not law enforcement officers.
The women were routinely beaten and threatened to instill fear in them and insure their obedience. Some of the co-conspirators also had sexual intercourse with the minor females. Any proceeds the women received as a result of their sexual encounters were taken by the members of the enterprise, rendering the women dependent upon the defendants for basic necessities.
McDaniels was also convicted in a separate but related case of nine counts of witness tampering and faces up to life in prison as a result. He will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal on March 22, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.
All the men have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the Innocence Lost Task Force of the FBI and the Houston Police Department as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. The initiative was founded in June 2003 to address criminal enterprises involved in the domestic sex trafficking of children and is a joint effort of the FBI, the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Goodwin.