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Case Number: 1:19-cr-00307-RCL
Judge: Royce C. Lamberth
Court: United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Washington County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Washington, DC: Criminal defense lawyer represented defendants charged with sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, sex trafficking of minors, and related offenses.
Willis Lewis, age 48, and Brittany Jones, age 32, were indicted for sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, sex trafficking of minors, and related offenses, in connection with their trafficking of a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl between April and May of 2019.
Brittany Jones, working with two co-conspirators who pleaded guilty, brought the two victims to Lewis for the purposes of trafficking them. After they were in Lewis’s custody, Lewis, along with another co-conspirator, set up “dates” for the two girls each day for almost two weeks and Lewis pocketed the money that the two girls made from these dates. Lewis used a loyalty contract, a firearm, and acts of violence committed against the co-conspirator in front of the victims to coerce the victims into performing commercial sex for his profit. Law enforcement became involved in this investigation after the two victims ran away from a residential facility in Virginia and the facility filed a missing person’s report.
At trial, the co-conspirators testified against Lewis and Jones and were corroborated by independent evidence, including material from the digital devices and cell phone location data.
Both defendants were arrested on July 30, 2019.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force is composed of FBI agents, along with other federal agents and detectives from northern Virginia and the District of Columbia, including the Metropolitan Police Department. The task force is charged with investigating and bringing federal charges against individuals engaged in the exploitation of children and those engaged in human trafficking.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhoodgov
In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, and Chief Contee commended the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, as well as the MPD’s Human Trafficking Unit. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department, including Paralegal Specialists Genevieve De Guzman, Karla Nunez, and Irina Tchernoskoutova, and Victim/Witness Advocate Yvonne Bryant.
Finally, they commended the work of Trial Attorney Elizabeth Hutson of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Janani Iyengar, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.
18:1591(a)(1), (a)(2), an (b)(1); SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN OR BY FORCE, FRAUD OR COERCION; Sex Trafficking by Force, and Coercion.
18:1591(a)(1), (a)(2), and (b)(2); SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN OR BY FORCE, FRAUD OR COERCION; Sex Trafficking of Minors.
18:1594(c); CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN BY FORCE, FRAUD, OR COERCION; Conspiracy to Sex Traffic Minors.
18:2423(a); COERCION OR ENTICEMENT OF MINOR FEMALE; Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.
18:2423(e); COERCION OR ENTICEMENT OF MINOR FEMALE; Conspiracy to Transport Minors with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.
18:2421(a); TRANSPORTING FOR PROSTITUTION; Transportation.
18:1952(a(3)(A); RACKETEERING - TRANSPORTING IN AID OF; Interstate Travel and Transportation in Aid of Racketeering.
Outcome: Defendants were found guilty..