A Mississippi man has been convicted on sex trafficking charges.
After a four-day trial, a federal jury in Jackson found 36-year-old Willie Charles Blackmon, Jr. guilty on two counts of sex trafficking minors through force, fraud, maintaining and harboring the minors for commercial sex acts, and two counts of advertising and promoting prostitution.
According to U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, the FBI and local law enforcement investigated Blackmon between July 2014 and March 2016 and found that he was running a prostitution ring.
A news release states that Blackman “purchased a runaway minor for $500” and recruited other runaway minors for prostitution. He would keep them in hotels in the Jackson and Vicksburg areas for days at a time and forced them to engage in sexual acts. If they refused, Blackmon would harm them and threaten them by holding a gun to their heads. He also provided drugs to the minors.
“This criminal deserves the harshest punishment under the law for harming, threatening and drugging children to do unspeakable things for money. I commend our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, as well as our prosecutors and support staff, for bringing this monster to justice and rescuing these victims. I would ask the public to help us by continuing to be vigilant to these crimes that occur all around us and promptly reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
Blackmon will be sentenced in March of 2019 and could face maximum of life in prison with fines of up to $1 million.
This case was investigated by the FBI Jackson Division’s Child Exploitation Task Force, with assistance from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, FBI New Orleans Child, Exploitation Task Force, Clinton Police Department and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Glenda R. Haynes and Keith French prosecuted the case.