ARIZONA: Case of Sex Trafficking Ring Recruiting Teens Leads to Charges for Ring-Leaders ‘
#AceNewsServices – ARIZONA (Lansing) – October 03 – A 17-year-old Lansing girl is one of at least two people officials say recruited local teens to work as prostitutes in a sex trafficking ring that stretched to Arizona.
The case — which is being prosecuted in both local and federal courts — so far has led to charges against the 17-year-old, Mariah Haughton, and 24-year-old Christopher Turryle Bryant of Lansing.
Officials expect to announce charges against a third person today.
Haughton is charged as an adult in Lansing’s 54A District Court with multiple counts, including human trafficking. She also is charged with recruiting minors to work as prostitutes and with creating child porn.
Her attorney, Barbara Herdus, could not be reached Thursday.
Bryant is charged in federal court with multiple counts of sex trafficking. Three of the counts involve girls under the age of 18.
According to court documents, one of the girls was lured by the promise of earning “easy money.” In March, the documents say, she was taken to unnamed Lansing motels, given drugs and alcohol, and had sex with multiple men who paid between $100 and $200.
That girl, who is not named, told investigators about others she believed were taken to Arizona and Alabama to work as prostitutes, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.
Bryant is being held without bond at the county jail. A federal indictment was unsealed last week, court records show, and Bryant was arrested at the jail on the federal charges. Bryant already was in jail on local charges including home invasion and assault by strangulation.
In addition to multiple sex trafficking counts, Bryant is charged in the federal case with transporting someone for purposes of prostitution. That charge involves an unidentified person who was allegedly taken to Arizona.
Bryant’s attorney, Sharon Turek, declined to comment.
Some of the allegations are detailed in an FBI search warrant application seeking to obtain information from Facebook accounts belonging to Bryant, Haughton and two others investigators believe were part of the prostitution ring.