COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that three men were convicted in federal court in Charleston for Sex Trafficking of Minors.
Damon Jackson, 24 of Columbia, Bakari McMillan, 24 of Columbia, and Cory Miller, 44 of Orangeburg were convicted on Friday in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1591.
United States District Judge David C. Norton of Charleston presided over the trial and will impose sentence at a later date.
Evidence presented at trial proved that Jackson, McMillan, and Miller participated in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina.
The defendants persuaded dozens of young women to work as prostitutes with fraudulent promises, and some of these victims were minors, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office – District of South Carolina.
The evidence showed that the defendants routinely raped and beat the victims to cause them to engage in commercial sex acts. The evidence also showed that many of the victims were drug addicts, and the defendants used heroin and crack cocaine to coerce the victims to engage in commercial sex acts, they say.
The defendants used the website Backpage.com to advertise sexual services throughout the Southeast, court documents say.
Seven of the defendants in the conspiracy pled guilty prior to the trial of Jackson, McMillan, and Miller.
U.S. Attorney Beth Drake gave credit for the convictions to both the victims and witnesses who showed the courage and strength to testify, and to the terrific investigation by the local police who worked hand-in-hand with the federal agents at ICE-HSI.
"The facts of this case are repugnant, and the victims - and the police officers who rescued them from the hell they were living - are nothing less than heroes." Drake said.
The case was investigated by agents from the North Charleston Police Department and the ICE- Homeland Security Investigations.
Assistant United States Attorneys Matt Austin and Rhett DeHart of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.