Feds: Portland man brought woman to Idaho for prostitution

jsowell@idahostatesman.comJanuary 28, 2014 

A federal grand jury in Oregon has indicted eight Portland men accused of bringing women across state lines to engage in prostitution.

The indictment, which was unsealed Monday, accuses the men of transporting the women to Hawaii, Idaho, Alaska, Minnesota and Nevada. The arrest came from an enforcement effort led by the FBI that was dubbed "Operation Traffic Stop."

Samuel D. "Sammega" Howard Jr., 32, is accused of bringing a woman identified in the indictment by her initials, "T.C.," to Idaho to engage in prostitution on July 6, 2013.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, does not indicate where in Idaho the prostitution took place or other details.

Howard is accused of violating the 1910 Mann Act, which prohibits transportation of a person across state lines to engage in prostitution. He is also charged with violating the 1961 Travel Act, which prohibits interstate travel for prostitution and other illegal acts.

If convicted on both counts, Howard could face up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

One of the other defendants, Mark "Meezlini" Miles Jr., 36, is accused of taking Ivancie "Ivy" Harris to Hawaii last spring to work as a prostitute. Harris' body was found May 20 in Hawaii. A U.S. Marine has been accused in her killing.

The other defendants are Steven “Flawless” Huffman, Jr., 40; Jorge “Baby Slim” Ortega, Jr., 32; Jermaine “Chocolate” Hankins, 38; Michael “Mackin Mike” Willis, Jr., 28; DeShawne “The Don” Howard, 23; and Camillio “Killa” Carradine, 33.

Two other men have been indicted but have not yet been arrested. Their case files remain sealed as police seek to arrest them.

"Local traffickers are sending young Portland-area women all over the country to have sex with strangers for money,” U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said. “These young women, far from home, are being placed in grave danger so that their pimp can buy himself a Mercedes or a Cadillac or an expensive pair of jeans. The reason traffickers do what they do is because they think they can get away with it; we are here to show them they are wrong.”

Sex trafficking is more than just a law enforcement problem, said Kevin Rickett, acting special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. The larger community must acknowledge and address the problem, he said.

“Until now, successful pimps reaped all the rewards with none of the risk, while the girls and young women they manipulated faced a life of violence and abuse,” Rickett said.

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