A Dallas man pleaded guilty yesterday to running a brutal sex trafficking ring for nearly two decades, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Anthony Johnson, 45, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking through force, fraud, and coercion, and sex trafficking on May 10, narrowly avoiding his trial, which was scheduled to begin the same day.
“Like Tremont Blakemore, a north Texas trafficker who pleaded guilty just two weeks ago, Anthony Johnson systematically tormented his victims, convincing them they had no choice but to bend to his will,” said U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham. “It’s difficult to fathom that human trafficking happens on the streets of Dallas, but it does, every day. If you or someone you know is being victimized, reach out for help. As impossible as it may seem in the moment, there is a way out.”
“Those attempting to profit from commercial sex through the viciousness of human trafficking are causing significant harm in our communities,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Dallas Christopher Miller. “This defendant’s guilty plea moves one step closer to finding justice for the victims he brutalized and manipulated.”
In plea papers, Mr. Johnson, aka “Macc Bucc,” admitted he forced numerous women to engage in commercial sex acts and turn the proceeds over to him. He set “quotas,” compelled the women to work for hours on end, and brutally beat them with an extension cord when they came up short, “disrespected” him, or did not follow his rules. He also required the women to steal from commercial sex customers, instructing them to rifle through customers’ pockets for cash or jewelry and check their cars for valuables.
One woman, identified in court documents as “Adult Victim 7,” endured his abuse for several years. The night he recruited AV7, Mr. Johnson directed his second-in-command, Demetrice Deckard, to take her to Harry Hines and teach her how to solicit commercial sex customers. She engaged in commercial sex with her first customer just a few days later. Throughout her time in his trafficking organization, AV7 was forced to travel cross-country to engage in commercial sex and was routinely beaten when she tried to leave the organization.
In a pretrial filing, prosecutors indicated they were prepared to introduce into evidence a 911 call placed by a different victim’s mother after her daughter called her in tears from a passerby’s phone.
“She said, ‘mamma, I wanna come home, they won’t let me come home,’ she said, ‘they got everything I got,’” the woman told the dispatcher. “‘Mamma, he got me by gunpoint, he’s got these girls following me, he beat me up real bad.’”
In another pretrial filing, prosecutors indicated that they were also prepared to introduce evidence that Mr. Johnson obtained a contraband cell phone while in jail awaiting trial and used the phone to continue running his organization. According to prosecutors, text messages obtained from the cell phone showed that Mr. Johnson continued to instruct women where to work, which hotels to use, how to steal from customers, and when they could finish work for the night. Mr. Johnson also directed women to send him videos of themselves having sex with commercial sex customers. In plea papers, Mr. Johnson admitted that he also ran his trafficking organization from behind bars from 2014 to 2019, following a conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Mr. Johnson now faces up to life in federal prison.
Ms. Deckard pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to engage in trafficking through force, fraud, and coercion and faces up to life in federal prison. Another co-defendant, Ashley Neice, pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and admitted to conspiring with Mr. Johnson to contact a victim in the criminal case in order to tell her not to cooperate with law enforcement. Ms. Neice faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Dallas Police Department, Miami Police Department, and the Miami Office of Attorney General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melanie Smith and Renee Hunter prosecuted the case with the help of appellate liaison Brian McKay.
If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call local law enforcement or the 24/7 confidential National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
EYES ON TRAFFICKING
This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from a Google News Alert for “human trafficking.”
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