Defendants plied women with narcotics and forced them into prostitution to pay for the drugs, Suffolk district attorney says.
Five suspected members and associates of the Bloods gang face multiple sex trafficking and other charges after their victims were “physically threatened” and “psychologically tortured” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said Thursday.
During a news conference in Central Islip, Sini outlined the 44-count indictment, describing a nightmarish scenario in which young and sometimes drug-addicted women were forced into prostitution to pay off their narcotic debts.
“They were essentially sex slaves,” Sini said.
The four victims, in their 20s and early 30s, will be offered supportive services, Sini said.
Charged in the indictment were Shati Roy, 31, with a last known address in Shirley; Jeffrey Eason, aka “Fest,” 54, of Mastic Beach; Jamie E. Young, aka “James,” 47, of Bellport; Kelvin Jackson, aka “Biggie,” 37, of Medford; and Avion Gordon, aka “G,” 30, also of Medford, prosecutors said. The five defendants remained in custody Thursday.
Roy was the leader of the operation and was charged with all 44 counts in the indictment, including multiple charges of sex trafficking, conspiracy, drug possession and promoting prostitution, prosecutors said.
“Shati Roy pimped out women. He pimped out young girls suffering from drug addiction and issues at home,” Sini said. “He pimped them out throughout Suffolk County.”
Young, Eason and Jackson face multiple counts of sex trafficking, conspiracy and other offenses, prosecutors said, and Gordon is charged with multiple conspiracy counts.
Roy, Jackson, Eason and Gordon were arraigned Thursday in Suffolk criminal court in Central Islip. Bail was set at $1 million cash, or $3 million bond, for the four defendants. Young is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, authorities said.
A maximum of 25 years in prison awaits Roy, Jackson, Eason and Young, if they are convicted of the top count of sex trafficking. Gordon faces a maximum of 4 years in prison if convicted.
The defendants supplied the women with illegal drugs and then ordered them to pay for the drugs, including cocaine and heroin, Sini said.
They also forced the women to pay for the hotel rooms used for prostitution, he said. The ring operated in commercial establishments and residences in Shirley, Medford, Coram, Ridge, Ronkonkoma and Holtsville, prosecutors said.
Roy and Young, described by Sini as “parole absconders,” were taken into custody in mid-December in the parking lot of a Holtsville hotel while with the victims, authorities said. The women were starving, dehydrated and sleep-deprived, Sini said.
Noting they had been threatened with physical violence, Sini said, “I’ve often heard that prostitution is a victimless crime. That is absurd.”
Roy was represented by an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County, which typically does not comment.
Young’s attorney said his client “will be vindicated.”
Jackson’s attorney, Sean M. Dixon, said, “At this preliminary stage, Mr. Jackson is cloaked with the presumption of innocence and remains eager to mount his defense and vindicate himself.”
Gordon’s attorney was not immediately available. Eason’s attorney could not be reached.
Sini said the case is among first significant results of an initiative launched last year to combat sex trafficking and that Thursday’s indictment should serve as a deterrent.
“If you’re engaging in sex trafficking,” he said, “we are going to find you.”
However, the district attorney’s office is ready to help victims of trafficking.
“It’s obviously illegal to act as a prostitute [but] we are reaching out to these girls,” he said. “We understand there are a host of reasons that victims can find themselves prostituting themselves,” Sini said. “We’re here to protect victims . . . We will do everything we can to hold predators accountable.”
Original article and journalistic credit can be found here.