Boston man indicted on drug, sex trafficking charges – Boston.com
By Mia McCarthy
A Boston man was indicted for allegedly running a drug and sex trafficking operation out of a tent on Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, according to a statement on Friday from U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins.
Jonathan Vaughan, 35, also called “Ason,” was charged with cocaine distribution, two counts of transporting a person for prostitution purposes, and three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion. He will appear in federal court on April 11.
“Sex trafficking is a heinous crime that inflicts immeasurable pain and trauma on victims and communities,” Rollins said. “Vaughan allegedly preyed on and exploited multiple vulnerable victims, by coercion and by force, to engage in sex acts for his own financial benefit. He profited off of people’s pain.”
According to the indictment, from June 2019 to October 2021, Vaughan reportedly forced and coerced three women into sex trafficking and transported two of the women to another state for prostitution. He was found with 15 bags of cocaine when he was arrested in October 2021.
“Vaughan is alleged to have used violence, threats, and drugs to coerce and control women, profiting financially by forcing them to perform sexual services for a fee and making it extremely difficult to escape,” said Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge for the Homeland Security Investigations’ Boston Field Office.
According to court documents, Vaughan would target women specifically in Boston and Cape Cod. He reportedly preyed on women around Mass and Cass and Downtown Crossing, as well as on Facebook, according to the statement.
“My office is working diligently to address the harm inflicted by violent human traffickers while ensuring that victims of sexual exploitation have the supports and services they need and deserve,” Kevin R. Hayden, Suffolk County District Attorney said. “These indictments represent what we can do on behalf of both survivors and our communities when we collaborate across agencies.”
According to the statement, Vaughan allegedly permitted his sex trafficking victims to stay in and bring “dates” back to his tent so long as he received the proceeds of the commercial sex acts.
According to court documents, Vaughan also brought his victims to hotels in locations such as Boston, Chelsea, Saugus, the Cape, as well as Queens and Manhattan, New York.
Vaughan, according to officials, is also alleged to have forced at least two of his victims to solicit themselves outdoors, by walking “the track” in areas such as Mass and Cass, Broadway in Chelsea, and in and around Times Square in Manhattan.
Dating back to at least 2019, Vaughan allegedly engaged in both physical and sexual violence against his victims to manipulate them and to assert power and control over them, according to the statement.
Vaughan allegedly called himself “Ason the Pimp” and had a tattoo across his chest that states: “Pimp or Die,” officials said.
The charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion provide for a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The charges of transportation of an individual for purposes of prostitution provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to a million dollars.
Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes that govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Members of the public who believe they may be a victim of this crime should contact [email protected].
If you or someone you know may be impacted or experiencing commercial sex trafficking, please visit polarisproject.org for information and resources.
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