Two San Diego gang members were convicted of participating in a racketeering enterprise involving sex trafficking of minors and adults, as well as robbery and drug sales, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Robert “Pimpsy” Banks III and Tony “Lil’ Play Doh” Brown are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 3 by U.S. District Judge John Houston.
After a trial that lasted more than two weeks, a federal jury on Wednesday found the defendants guilty of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, as well as three counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of transportation of a minor for prostitution.
They face up to 20 years in prison on each count, according to prosecutors.
Banks and Brown, both 33, were arrested and charged in 2014 as part of a larger investigation involving 22 other defendants, all of whom pleaded guilty.
“Sex trafficking is a crime that causes devastating long-term effects for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Because of (these) verdicts, and the numerous guilty pleas that preceded them, these gang members will no longer be able to subject women and girls to the pain, humiliation and suffering associated with sex trafficking.
“Unfortunately, more gangs are expanding from traditional pursuits like drug dealing into this lucrative business,” Duffy added. “These gangsters are preying upon our youth, and we are using every law enforcement resource to keep our children and our communities safe from these predators.”
The federal racketeering statute known as RICO historically has been used to prosecute mobsters and organized crime, but prosecutors recently have been using the statute on street gangs that are increasingly acting as organized criminal enterprises, especially in sex trafficking and prostitution.
In the trial of Banks and Brown, prosecutors presented evidence that the defendants worked together as a criminal enterprise to sex-traffic multiple women and four 15- and 16-year-olds, and to commit drug sales and a robbery on behalf of the North Park-based Black Mob/Skanless Enterprise.
–City News Service