Three charged in sex case

Grand jury in­dicts on hu­man traf­fick­ing charges; po­lice met vic­tim at King of Prus­sia ho­tel

The Phoenix - - LOCAL NEWS - By Os­car Gam­ble ogam­ble @21st-cen­tu­ry­ @OGam­ble_TH on Twitter

A grand jury in­dicted two men and a woman ac­cused of run­ning a sex-traf­fick­ing oper­a­tion af­ter de­tec­tives set up a meet­ing with one of their vic­tims at a King of Prus­sia ho­tel.

On Sept. 19, a crim­i­nal com­plaint was is­sued in dis­trict court charg­ing 29-year-old Kashamba Jah­mal John of Decatur, Ge­or­gia, with cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter a woman who said she had been lured into pros­ti­tu­tion sought help from state po­lice.

John’s al­leged ac­com­plices, 33-year-old Tyler Bach­tel of Mont­clair, Cal­i­for­nia, and 27-year-old Arianna “Amy” Somerville, also of Decatur, were charged with hu­man traf­fick­ing and pros­ti­tu­tion­re­lated of­fenses for their al­leged roles in re­cruit­ing the vic­tim and set­ting up so-called “dates.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan on Oct. 5, 2016, when a de­tec­tive with the UpperMerion Po­lice Depart­ment’s Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit was work­ing on a case in­volv­ing po­ten­tial pros­ti­tu­tion so­licited through the es­cort sec­tion of the web­site Back­page.

The de­tec­tive re­sponded to an ad on the site and, via texts, dis­cussed par­tic­u­lars about set­ting up a meet. A meet­ing was ar­ranged at the Hamp­ton Inn, 530 West DeKalb Pike, and the de­tec­tive later re­ceived a phone call from a woman be­lieved to be Somerville, who asked ques­tions that seemed to be at­tempt­ing to screen for law en­force­ment of­fi­cials, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

When in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rived at the ho­tel room — which sur­veil­lance pho­tos re­port­edly showed John check­ing into ear­lier in the day —they en­coun­tered the vic­tim, iden­ti­fied them­selves as law en­force­ment of­fi­cers and of­fered their as­sis­tance.

The vic­tim re­fused their help but re­port­edly told them that the peo­ple she was work­ing for were hold­ing her iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Later that af­ter­noon, when an Uber driver was sent to pick the vic­tim up, she re­port­edly told the driver she needed to stop and get a money or­der.

When the driver stopped and the wit­ness was pur­chas­ing the or­der, the man who ar­ranged the pickup, who au­thor­i­ties believe was John, called the driver and asked if po­lice were fol­low­ing them.

Upon the vic­tim’s re­turn to the car, the driver in­formed her of the phone call, and as they were head­ing to­ward Philadel­phia on Route 76, the vic­tim­re­port­edly be­came hys­ter­i­cal and asked to be taken to po­lice.

The driver saw a state trooper on the side of the road and took the vic­tim to him.

State po­lice in­ter­viewed the vic­tim, who said she was 21 and was re­cruited by a man she knew as “Tyler” in a night­club in Los An­ge­les. She said he told her he had a part­ner on the East Coast she could work for and earn $12,000 per week as an es­cort, but she would not be re­quired to have sex with clients.

Ac­cord­ing to the vic­tim, ar­range­ments were made for her to travel to Atlanta, where she met John, whom she knew as “KJ.”

She said “KJ” and “Amy” con­fis­cated all her be­long­ings, in­clud­ing her ID, and she was taken to a ho­tel room where men would come ex­pect­ing sex.

The vic­tim said she was ex­pected to have sex with be­tween 20 and 30men per day in 14-hour shifts be­gin­ning at 8 a.m. She was never al­lowed to keep any money and was supplied with very lit­tle or no food.

She also told po­lice, that on one oc­ca­sion, af­ter she com­plained about be­ing hun­gry, John plied her with al­co­hol and had sex with her with­out her con­sent.

The vic­tim showed in­ves­ti­ga­tors board­ing passes for her and John for a flight from Atlanta to Philadel­phia on Oct. 5 and ex­plained that she had no money, no ID and no way to get home.

State po­lice be­gan an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into John, who has a lengthy crim­i­nal his­tory, in­clud­ing an ar­rest on charges of hu­man traf­fick­ing in West Palm Beach in Feb. 2015, an ar­rest on charges of rob­bery and pros­ti­tu­tion-re­lated of­fenses in Se­cau­cus, New Jersey, in July, 2014, and a con­vic­tion for ag­gra­vated as­sault in Ge­or­gia in 2009.

He also al­legedly had a Face­book page that ex­tolled the life­style of a pimp.

Through a review of text mes­sages from the vic­tim’s cell­phone in­ves­ti­ga­tors were able to piece to­gether a time­line of events be­gin­ning with her re­cruit­ment in Cal­i­for­nia.

In the texts, she voiced her trep­i­da­tion to Bach­tel re­peat­edly, and of­ten com­plained about her­mistreat­ment, at one point telling him she was “not a slave.”

The texts also re­veal that she re­ferred to John as her “boss” and in­di­cate that Som­merville was in­stru­men­tal in ar­rang­ing meet­ings with clien­tele.

In an in­ter­view with state po­lice, Bach­tel re­port­edly ad­mit­ted to re­cruit­ing the vic­tim to “work” for John and ar­ranged for her ini­tial flight to Atlanta in an at­tempt to re­pay a debt he owed him. Ac­cord­ing to court records, Bach­tel’s pre­lim­i­nary ar­raign­ment is pend­ing.

Somerville was ar­raigned in dis­trict court and re­manded to theMont­gomery County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity af­ter fail­ing to post 10 per­cent of $50,000 bail.

John’s bail was set at $100,000, and he re­mains be­hind bars at the Mont­gomery County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity, with a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing sched­uled for Oct. 10.

Kashamba John

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