Man ac­cused of sex traf­fick­ing gets bond set at $125K

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY ALEX LANG

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The sus­pect who al­legedly took a woman from a North Carolina re­hab cen­ter and forced her into sex traf­fick­ing in the Myr­tle Beach-area could be free as he awaits trial.

A judge set bond for De­quan Blak­eney, 26, at $ 125,000 dur­ing a Thurs­day Horry County Cir­cuit Court hear­ing. Blak­eney is charged with hu­man traf­fick­ing and has been held with­out bond since his July ar­rest.

It’s un­known if Blak­eney can post the bond as his de­fense at­tor­ney said his fam­ily has lim­ited fi­nan­cial means and asked for a max­i­mum bail of $ 30,000. If he is re­leased, Blak­eney will be re­quired to live in the Char­lot­teMeck­len­burg area with his fam­ily and wear GPS mon­i­tor­ing.

As­sis­tant So­lic­i­tor Mary Ellen Wal­ter said Blak­eney picked up the vic­tim from a North Carolina re­hab fa­cil­ity. He then brought the 22-year-old woman and an­other vic­tim to the Myr­tle Beach area and sex traf­ficked them, Wal­ter said.

The vic­tim ini­tially told Char­lotte-Meck­len­burg po­lice that Blak­eney kid­napped her from the re­hab fa­cil­ity, but has since re­canted that state­ment. The state does not know why she changed her ac­count, Wal­ter said.

Blak­eney ini­tially was charged with hu­man traf­fick­ing, kid­nap­ping and third-de­gree as­sault but only was in­dicted on the traf­fick­ing charge. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

De­fense at­tor­ney Mar­tin Spratlin ar­gued that po­lice de­ter­mined after Blak­eney’s ar­rest there was no kid­nap­ping and Blak­eney and the vic­tim were to­gether. Au­thor­i­ties with­drew the kid­nap­ping war­rant.

Wal­ter said text mes­sages show Blak­eney threat­en­ing force in the pros­ti­tu­tion plot. The 22-year-old had a black eye when she spoke to po­lice after she es­caped in the Myr­tle Beach area.

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