TEXARKANA, Texas — Three men accused of using drugs, force and threats to engage women as prostitutes have been charged in Bowie County with continuous trafficking of persons.
Rashaan Jamal “Fashion” Cunningham, 44, Brandon Everett Palmer, 38, and Marcus Lanell Palmer, 36, allegedly have been running a prostitution business in the area “for years,” according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by a special agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division.
The affidavit includes summaries of interviews with women listed as Victim 1 through Victim 14, who allege the defendants independently and together forced women into prostitution by exploiting their drug addictions, secretly drugging them and threatening violence against them and their children.
Cunningham, an alleged member of the Bloods street gang, allegedly maintained a number of social media sites on which he used to “recruit victims to be sold for sex, advertise victims for sale for sex and recruit customers wanting to purchase sex with victims.”
One of Cunningham’s social media sites, AOB and Associates, allegedly was advertised as an adult-oriented business and offered protection to women who would work as prostitutes, “extensively” recruited men as customers and provided information as to how payment could be made.
An allegedly loyal customer of Cunningham’s, Ryan Allan Layne, was arrested on a felony solicitation charge in October in the investigation. Evidence incriminating Cunningham allegedly was obtained from a search of Layne’s phone.
Evidence of payments from Layne for sex via cash applications was allegedly discovered as well.
The connection between Cunningham and the Palmer brothers allegedly is evident in social media accounts obtained by law enforcement.
“Affiant found numerous conversations with Brandon Palmer and Marcus Palmer regarding distribution of illegal drugs and messages and conversations that indicate the Palmers cooperate with Cunningham in trafficking victims for sex,” the affidavit states.
Some of the alleged victims described being given a drink or a drug they believed to be something else before waking up in another location with no clothes.
“Adult Victim #3 said that Cunningham, Brandon Palmer and Marcus Palmer work together to drug and rape women and to traffic women for sex,” the affidavit states. “Adult Victim #3 admitted to having been sold for sex by Cunningham in Texarkana as well as having been taken to Dallas, multiple times, where she was sold in numerous hotels as well as in a ‘sex shop.'”
One of the alleged victims reported being required to have sex with suppliers who allegedly provided Cunningham with meth. Cunningham allegedly posted the address where the woman’s children live on a prostitution website when their relationship soured.
The last four digits of Cunningham’s phone number allegedly spell “PIMP.”
A woman identified as Victim 8 reported in December that she was held down and raped by Cunningham and Brandon Palmer in a house on Richmond Road in April or May 2021. She reported that she thought she was in a dating relationship with Marcus Palmer when he dropped her off at the house, so she felt she would be safe there.
The woman allegedly claimed that Cunningham attempted to recruit her into prostitution, which she declined.
“That was when he started getting rude, that’s when he started getting mean, he started trying to manhandle and Brandon was right along there with him. Brandon is not good either, and Fashion and Brandon ended up, ended up having their way all because I didn’t want to join Fashion’s team. I didn’t want to sell my body for him to have all the money,” the affidavit states.
The woman said she began to feel “slow” and “heavy” after drinking a beverage given to her by Brandon Palmer. She described the feeling as similar to sedation she received before a medical procedure.
Brandon Palmer and Cunningham are charged with aggravated sexual assault in connection with Victim 8. They face five to 99 years or life if convicted of that charge.
All three men face 25 to 99 or life if convicted of continuous trafficking of persons.
Bails for Brandon Palmer and Cunningham total $350,000. Marcus Palmer’s bail is set at $250,000.
Print Headline: Three men charged with human trafficking involving multiple women in Texarkana
Copyright © 2022, Texarkana Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Texarkana Gazette, Inc.