Anthony Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking through “force, fraud, and coercion” and another count of sex trafficking. U.S. District Judge Ada Brown sentenced Johnson to 25 years in prison and a lifetime of supervision, per the DOJ.
Federal prosecutors said that Johnson committed extraordinary cruelty against his victims over the course of two decades, including forcing them into prostitution and beating them with extension cords in fits of rage.
While awaiting trial, the convict even managed to get his hands on a cell phone that had presumably been smuggled into the jail. Using the device, he continued to run his sex trafficking organization and ordered his victims to send him “videos of themselves having sex with commercial sex customers.”
“In plea papers, Mr. Johnson admitted that he also ran his trafficking organization from behind bars from 2014 to 2019, following a conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon,” the DOJ stated.
Another defendant in the case, Demetrice Deckard, answered directly to Johnson and was said to be his “second-in-command.” She coached victims on how to find “customers” on the streets of Dallas, according to prosecutors. Deckard and another defendant, Ashley Neice, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
The federal government also introduced into evidence a 911 call from the mother of one of the victims, who had “called her in tears from a passerby’s phone.”
U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton commented on Johnson’s barbaric crimes.
“Human trafficking is happening under our noses — and the heartbreaking 911 call in this case illustrates just how brutal these situations can be for victims. We hope that during Mr. Johnson’s time behind bars, his victims can begin to heal from the pain – both mental and physical – he inflicted on them,” Simonton said.
“Please, if you even suspect someone you know is being trafficked, reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Your call could save a life.”
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 888-373-7888.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."