Four people with ties to a Fort Worth street gang have pleaded guilty in connection with a prostitution ring that included sex trafficking of children, federal officials announced Tuesday.
Audry “Spud” Lane, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children.
Lane’s plea was the latest in other recent guilty pleadings for the same offense by Deon “Spanish Fly” Bonner. 26, and Stanley “Pee Wee” Johnson, 24.
Another defendant, Chad “Ocho Hood Fame” Johnson, pleaded guilty Monday but to one count of sex trafficking of children.
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Each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The four were among nine people ultimately charged federally in connection with the prostitution ring that authorities say was in place from October 2013 to April 2016. Many of the suspects are believed to have ties with the Polywood Crips, a street gang that operates in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood of Fort Worth.
Three of the others charged had already pleaded guilty in the case: Alvin “Spank” Lane to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children and sisters Serrah and Jessica Arnold to one count of use of a facility of interstate commerce in aid of a racketeering enterprise.
Only two of those charged — Diwone “Pooh” Nobles, 32, and Katelyn “KD” Micelle Ward, 24 — are set for trial.
Court documents allege Nobles, Bonner, Chad Johnson, Stanley Johnson, Audry Lane and Alvin Lane acted as pimps for the girls and women they trafficked.
To locate customers, Nobles, Bonner, Chad Johnson, Stanley Johnson, Audry Lane, and Alvin Lane facilitated the placement of ads on various commercial websites, including Backpage.com.
Serrah Arnold and Jessica Arnold, known as “bottom girls” — a term given to the prostitute at the top of the hierarchy for one pimp — posted some the ads using their own Backpage.com accounts, prosecutors alleged.
The alleged victims, which included 16-year-old girls, told investigators that the suspects would keep all the money they earned. If they did not follow instructions, some reported being beaten and raped.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security investigators and Fort Worth police.