Police want human traffickers in federal court

Gaithersburg man is first MCPD arrestee convicted by a federal jury

Since the Montgomery County Police Department’s vice intelligence squad was formed in 2005, only one person out of about 150 arrests has been tried in a federal court — Lloyd Mack Royal, III.

Royal, 29, of Gaithersburg, is the poster child for the future of convicted human traffickers, said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland. Royal faces a minimum of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of life, he said.

Royal was convicted by a federal jury March 24 of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking by force and possession of a firearm, according to court records. At his June 11 sentencing, rescheduled from April 29, Royal could get 10 years to life for sex trafficking of a minor, 15 years to life for sex trafficking by force and five years for possession of a firearm, according to court records.

Local police agencies often try to get their human trafficking and prostitution cases heard in federal court, Rosenstein said.

“Federal penalties are tougher,” Rosenstein said. “The police want to make sure their suspects get the maximum penalty for their crimes.”

Royal is not the only person county police have tried to have prosecuted in federal court, county police spokesman Sgt. C. Thomas Jordan said Friday. The department’s vice squad has presented several human trafficking cases to federal prosecutors.

County police said they didn’t know how many human trafficking cases they have presented during the years, but Royal is the first successfully prosecuted at the federal level.

Federal prosecutors look for cases involving human trafficking of humans for sex or labor when local police agencies present their cases, Rosenstein said.

Getting more human trafficking cases heard in federal court was a goal of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force when it was created in 2007, Rosenstein said. Since 2007, six people have been convicted in federal court of human trafficking in Maryland, including Royal, said Marcia Murphy, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

Most defendants in the cases do not want to draw out the process and prefer to take a lesser sentence for cooperating, Rosenstein said.

“Royal wanted to go to trial whereas others just plead out,” he said.

Rosenstein said he did not understand why Royal wanted to go to trial.

“We try to meet with the defense attorneys, and sometimes the defendant, and lay out all the evidence we have against the defendant,” he said “Sometimes that gets us a plea instead of going to trial.”

Royal opted for a trial instead of pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking by force and possession of a firearm, his attorney Harry Trainor said. Trainor said he will advise Royal on what steps he should take after sentencing.

Royal was arrested and charged with three counts of assault, prostitution and pandering in May 2007, months before the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force was created, according to court records. Royal is accused of giving alcohol and drugs to young girls to get them to have sex for money, according to court records.

“The vice guys present their cases and the feds decide on them,” Jordan said. “They’re looking for the person who is trafficking young girls … when they take a human trafficking case from us.”

source;http://www.gazette.net/stories/05122010/germnew171959_32549.php

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