Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hartford Man Guilty of Sex Trafficking of Minors

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal jury in New Haven today found TONEY KELSEY, also known as “Blaze,” 26, of Hartford, guilty of sex trafficking of minors.  The trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall began on May 15.

According to the evidence at trial, in late May 2015, KELSEY recruited a 17-year-old female to work in prostitution with the profits to be split evenly between them.  On the day they met, KELSEY engaged in sexual activity with the minor victim.  KELSEY posted advertisements on the Backpage and Cityvibe websites soliciting customers for the minor victim, and the minor victim saw prostitution clients at hotels in the greater Hartford area in May and June 2015.  The minor victim was then recovered by law enforcement.

In November 2016, KELSEY used his Facebook account to contact a second minor victim, who was 15 years old at the time.  KELSEY asked the minor victim if she wanted to earn “fast money” giving “sexual favors” to clients and promised the minor victim $300 per hour.  The minor victim represented that she was 17 years old and KELSEY responded “Cool u old enough.” KELSEY picked up the minor victim at her house and took her to his Hartford residence.  From there, KELSEY arranged “missions,” or prostitution appointments, for the minor victim, and KELSEY drove her to the appointments.  During this time, KELSEY, the minor victim and two other individuals were involved in a car accident.  The next day, KELSEY had arranged prostitution appointments for the minor victim at the Cityside Inn on the Berlin Turnpike in Wethersfield.  At the motel, one prospective client arranged by KELSEY decided not to engage in sexual activity with the minor victim because of the scars on her face sustained during the car accident.

On the morning of November 18, 2016, KELSEY left the minor victim and another female at the Cityside Inn.  Wethersfield Police recovered the minor victim near the motel.

The jury found KELSEY guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of sex trafficking of minors.

During the trial, the jury also heard evidence of a third minor victim, a 17-year-old girl that KELSEY contacted through a social media application in May 2016.  KELSEY posted a photograph of the minor victim on Backpage, where he solicited prostitution clients for her.  He then drove the minor victim to two prostitution appointments.

KELSEY has been detained since his arrest by Wethersfield Police on related state charges on November 30, 2016.

Chief Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for August 14, 2018, at which time KELSEY faces a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of life imprisonment.

This investigation has been conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Connecticut State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Wethersfield Police Department and Hartford Police Department, through the Connecticut Human Trafficking Task Force.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarala V. Nagala and Marc H. Silverman.

MS-13 Member Admits Responsibility for Murder of 16-Year-Old East Boston Boy and Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy Involving Murder

Defendant 48th person to be convicted in case

BOSTON – An MS-13 member pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston. 

Jairo Perez, a/k/a “Seco,” 27, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. Perez admitted that his racketeering activity involved the Jan. 10, 2016, murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.

Under the terms of the proposed plea agreement, Perez will be sentenced to 35 years in prison.  At today’s hearing, the Court accepted the defendant’s guilty plea but deferred acceptance of the plea agreement until the sentencing hearing.  Perez will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.  U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Sept. 11, 2018.

The investigation revealed that Perez was a member of MS-13’s Trece Loco Salvatrucha (TLS) clique. Evidence showed that on Jan. 10, 2016, Perez and other MS-13 members murdered a 16-year-old boy whom they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. The victim was stabbed and shot multiple times.  A few days after the murder, Perez was caught on tape admitting to stabbing the victim multiple times, and he was arrested soon thereafter. Perez was also recorded burying the knives used to murder the victim in a park on Deer Island in Winthrop.

After a multi-year investigation, Perez was one of dozens of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 named in a superseding indictment unsealed in January 2016 that targeted MS-13’s criminal activities in Massachusetts. Perez is the 48th defendant to be convicted as part of that ongoing prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.  To date, all eight defendants who have gone to trial have been convicted, and 40 other defendants have pleaded guilty.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Peter Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Turco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief James Guido; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.

The remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Justice Department Recognizes California Man for Role in Safe Recovery of Abducted Baby

The Department of Justice today honored Colin Blevin, a Santa Clara, California, resident, for his actions that led to the recovery of an abducted one-year-old girl and the apprehension of the child’s kidnapper.

Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio presented Blevin with the Missing Children’s Citizen Award during the Justice Department’s National Missing Children’s Day ceremony. This award recognizes private citizens for extraordinary acts that lead to the safe recovery of missing or abducted children.

Blevin received his award for preventing a suspect from escaping with a one-year-old girl in a stolen car and keeping the child safe until police arrived. The offender was sentenced to more than five years in prison for felony child abuse and theft of a vehicle.

“Blevin’s quick actions epitomize courage, selflessness, and vigilance, and brought an innocent child home to safety,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “The Department of Justice commends Blevin for making his community safer, through his successful rescue of the child and assist to law enforcement.”

In addition to Blevin, the Department also honored several law enforcement officers for their investigative efforts in sexual exploitation cases involving children and youth. Panuccio also recognized Eden Hoffmann, a fifth grader at Huron Elementary School in Clinton Township, Michigan, as the 19th winner of the National Missing Children’s Day poster contest.