A West Hempstead gang member was indicted on Thursday for numerous charges of sex trafficking. The defendant, Joshua Lampley-Reid, 26, who is a member of the Makk Balla set of the Bloods street gang, was arrested on Wednesday.
“As alleged, through violence, coercion and manipulation, the defendant exploited and demeaned both underage and adult female victims by forcing them to engage in commercial sex acts and posting sexually explicit photographs of them on the internet,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Lesko in a news release. “This office will use every tool in its law enforcement arsenal to combat the sexual exploitation of women, especially young girls, and ensure that predators like the defendant are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, from December 2019 until his arrest yesterday, Lampley-Reid allegedly trafficked victims on Long Island, including at motels in East Meadow, Freeport and Rockville Centre, as well as out of state in places such as Florida, Maryland and North Carolina. He also allegedly used violence and the threat of violence to compel commercial sex acts by numerous women for his financial benefit, including by minors as young as 15 years old, authorities said.
Lampley-Reid used social media and other internet applications to establish relationships with potential victims, groomed those victims by feigning a romantic interest in them, manipulated them into working for him as prostitutes, and then effectively enslaved them through acts of force and coercion, the officials said.
Lampley-Reid demanded that the proceeds of prostitution “dates” be turned over to him, and any resistance from the victims was met with violence or threats.
“The deplorable actions of this one man will affect the lives of these young girls for years to come,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh. “HSI works closely with its law enforcement partners in a victim-centered approach to rescue the victims and keep them safe. Today, we are sending a unified message to anyone perpetrating crimes against children: No matter who you are, we will bring every resource available to hold you accountable for your crimes.”
Lampley-Reid’s attorney, Tracey Gaffey, of the Federal Defenders, declined to comment on the accusations.
If convicted of sex trafficking of a minor, Lampley-Reid faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison. If convicted of producing child pornography, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison.
More to follow.