A convicted sex and drug trafficker who operated out of Burlington for several years has been sentenced to more than 22 years in prison.
Brian Folks, 45, was convicted on several felony counts after an almost three-week trial in May 2019,. His was the first sex trafficking case to be tried before a jury in Vermont.
This week in federal court in Burlington, Judge William K. Sessions sentenced Folks to 22 years and six months in prison.
Prosecutors say Folks operated a sex and drug trafficking ring out of Burlington from 2012 to 2016, targeting young, at-risk women in the Burlington area.
Among other charges, Folks was convicted of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; sex trafficking a minor; operating an unlawful prostitution business; possessing and distributing heroin; and conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.
“This significant term of imprisonment reflects the inhumanity with which Folks treated his victims and the depravity of his conduct,” Christina Nolan, the U.S. attorney for Vermont, said in a statement. “We in Vermont law enforcement simply won’t tolerate this conduct.”
Women testified at trial that initially Folks offered to split prostitution earnings 50/50 with them, but they soon wound up giving their 50% to Folks to buy drugs from him.
In addition, according to prosecutors, Folks photographed women and advertised in the “escort” section of Backpage.com.
Prosecutors say Folks maintained strict rules to ensure compliance and profit from his sex and drugs businesses.
His prior record includes a manslaughter conviction from New York City.
Once he completes his prison sentence, Folks will be on supervised federal release for 10 years.
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