OAKLAND — Federal prosecutors are holding up the resolution of a Bay Area human trafficking case while they and the FBI investigate a decade-old allegation involving sex trafficking of a then-underage girl, they revealed in court records.
The case centers on Richmond resident Chase McMillon, 37, who was charged with sex trafficking and other offenses after he was implicated in an assault on a woman who he was allegedly trafficking around the Bay Area. The FBI began investigating McMillon after the alleged victim accused McMillon and a woman of assaulting her in Salinas after she refused to perform sex work due to back pain.
The decade-old allegations came up while authorities were investigating McMillon for the Salinas incident, and may result in new charges. But many details remain a mystery; records detailing the allegations have been filed under seal and will remain there at least until the government decides whether to seek a new indictment against McMillon, whose attorney said is ready to accept responsibility for two of his current pending charges.
The decade-old case involves sex trafficking of a minor. Evidence includes statements by the alleged victim, who no longer lives in California, as well as a videotape that “shows what it shows,” assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lee said in court records and at a Tuesday hearing.
McMillon — who has a 2011 conviction for human trafficking — has been in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin since January, two months after he allegedly assaulted the woman in Salinas. That incident came after McMillon spent weeks trafficking the woman — known in court records only as “Victim 1” — throughout the Bay Area, including Oakland, Richmond, and San Francisco, prosecutors have alleged.
A 22-page prosecution motion to keep McMillon in custody details the allegations involving Victim 1. Prosecutors allege that McMillon recruited the woman into prostitution by offering to “pay her bills.” Before long, though, he was allegedly holding her to a $500 daily quota and using physical violence to “keep her in line.”
“To enforce his rules, (McMillon) punched, slapped, shoved or pushed Victim 1 off her feet. He also used his larger body mass to press her down on the ground or other surface,” prosecutors wrote.
In the Salinas incident, when the woman told McMillon she couldn’t work due to back pain, he allegedly forced her to sleep in a car outside a motel where they stayed. As the morning came around, an argument started between McMillon, the woman, and McMillon’s girlfriend, referred to as “S.F.” in court records, prosecutors said.
The alleged victim later told police that she ran into the motel bathroom to escape McMillon as the argument intensified, but that he “proceeded to choke me while lifting me off the floor and breaking the back of the toilet in the process.” She escaped when they stopped by a 7-Eleven and the woman begged McMillon to let her go, prosecutors wrote.
McMillon’s criminal history includes a 2006 incident when he allegedly trafficking a 15-year-old girl from Kentucky, sending her a Greyhound bus ticket and encouraging her to run away from home, prosecutors said. The girl’s mother tracked down McMillon and called him up to inquire of her daughter’s whereabouts. McMillon allegedly told the mother that her daughter was in “the game.”
“The victim’s mother inquired into what the game was and Chase told her ‘Hustling to get that money’ (another phrase for Prostitution and Pimping activity),” prosecutors wrote in the motion. “The mother inquired further and was told by Chase that the victim was involved in prostitution, however ‘if she does not get straight and do what she was told her arm is going to be broke.’?”
Federal prosecutors are expected to make a final decision on whether to pursue new charges by the end of October.