GRAPHIC: Violence, drug addiction used to force women into sex trafficking in SC

Newberry Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:37 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 2:32 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A South Carolina man who used violence, fraud and coercion to prostitute women pleaded guilty to human trafficking conspiracy in court.

Between 2018 and 2022, 31-year-old Eric Rashun Jones worked with others to force women into sex trafficking. The 31-year-old is believed to be part of a street gang and goes by the aliases “E” and “E Dolla”, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Investigators said he managed online advertisements for prostitution, controlled when and where the women worked, and determined how the money they received would be used.

The Greenville Police Department, the Simpsonville Police Department, and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office were involved in the investigation into Jones, which spanned multiple counties in South Carolina. He was living at an apartment in Greenville in March 2022.

Details from authorities on the investigation into Jones are disturbing. He used physical violence, which was recorded on video recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He broke bones in one victim’s face and burst her ear drum. He threatened to kill one victim and her family.

Jones also exploited drug addiction to control the women, in one case withholding fentanyl from a dependent victim as punishment. Others battling addiction were paid for sex with drugs.

He was arrested in Lexington County in June 2019 after a woman called 911 to report Jones had forced her into prostitution, kept the money, and stolen her phone. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Office said they found Jones in a hotel room with two partially nude women - and a gun hidden under the mattress. Jones was not allowed to have a firearm since he had prior felony convictions for robbery and assault.

In March 2022, Greenville Police Department said they went to Millennium Apartments on Fairforest Way to arrest Jones for human trafficking. Officers said when they arrived, two women left the apartment. The incident report says Jones tried to leave in his car, but he was pulled over.

According to police, a search of his vehicle revealed multiple types of drugs and narcotics along with digital scales. He was charged with distribution of meth, possession of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance.

Greenville police said they spoke to one of the women at the apartments, who told them she was addicted to narcotics. Officers said they attempted to help make arrangements for her to receive drug treatment.

While in federal custody, Jones called a trafficked victim more than 40 times over five days, ordering her to “say nothing” to investigators. He told her he had a “third eye on the street.”

“Tell those mother ******* you know nothing,” Jones said in a recorded jail call. “**** the police, the police ain’t your family.”

Jones also pleaded guilty to witness tampering in connection with the calls, in addition to human trafficking conspiracy and felon in possession of a firearm. He will have to pay money to his victims and register as a sex offender as part of his plea agreement.

A U.S. District judge will sentence Jones after reviewing a report from the U.S. Probation Office. He faces the possibility of life in prison.

We are working to obtain more information about the investigations conducted in Simpsonville and Anderson County related to Jones.

Stay with FOX Carolina for updates on this developing story.