Alleged pimps arrested on federal charges in Portland
Eight people in Portland were recently arrested for their alleged involvement in a prostitution ring that operated across several states as far north as Alaska, as far east as Minnesota and as far west as Hawaii.
According to federal authorities, Operation Traffic Stop was spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and nabbed suspects accused of sending young Portland women to various states, including Idaho and Nevada, to work as prostitutes.
A 35-year-old man, one of the accused, is under suspicion of transporting a 29-year-old woman, reportedly his girlfriend, to Hawaii in May to work as a prostitute. The woman was later found dead on a beach; a Marine sergeant has been charged with her murder.
If the accused his convicted, authorities plan to seize his property, including an expensive car.
Five other men were arrested on federal charges of trafficking. Two more suspects involved in sex trafficking of underage women have not yet been arrested.
Those arrested face charges under the Travel Act and Mann Act. Under both acts, violators can be prosecuted for promoting prostitution and transporting women across state lines. Each charge has a maximum 10-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine.
Federal criminal charges such as sex trafficking are prosecuted in a federal court under federal guidelines, which can offer less room for negotiation with prosecutors. Convictions can lead to long-term incarceration and fines, among other consequences.
Federal charges are usually more severe than local misdemeanor charges. The suspects should consider refusing to answer questions from authorities because their answers can be used against them during prosecution. They will also likely need someone who can navigate the federal court system to increase the chances of a case dismissal or a favorable outcome.
In Portland, those who face federal criminal charges should strongly consider discussing their cases with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with federal court experience.