BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Department of Justice reported an alleged pimp and a woman accused of working with him were indicted by a federal grand jury on sex trafficking and other charges.
US Attorney Walt Green of the Middle District of Louisiana said Jeremie Tate of Zachary and Roxanne Merritt of Greenwell Springs are charged with:
Sex trafficking, including conspiring to use interstate facilities in aid of racketeering
Using interstate facilities in aid of racketeering
Enticing another to travel interstate for prostitution
Both are in federal custody. Tate was arrested in Houston on Friday by US marshals and agents with the FBI. He is expected to appear in federal court in Houston on Monday before being sent to Baton Rouge to face charges.
The indictment stated Tate, Merritt and others used telephones, the internet and other devices to promote and manage Tate's alleged prostitution business from or about November 2012 through or about November 2013. According to the indictment, the business involves several prostitutes, including a minor.
Tate is accused of getting a woman who allegedly worked for him as a prostitute to travel from Baton Rouge to Las Vegas to engage in prostitution. Officials added Tate allegedly used intimidation and manipulation to make sure he was given most of the money the prostitutes collected.
"Sex trafficking is one of the highest priorities of this office and the entire US Department of Justice," Green said in a written release. "We will continue to aggressively pursue such matters, along with our dedicated federal, state, and local partners and the Human Trafficking Task Force for the Middle District of Louisiana."
If convicted, Tate faces up to 50 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. He could also be ordered to forfeit proceeds and property, pay restitution and be placed on up to five years of supervised release after serving a prison term.
If convicted, Merritt faces up to 15 years in prison and up to a $750,000 fine. She could also be ordered to pay restitution and be placed on up to three years of supervised release after serving a prison term.