Federal officials this week charged more than half a dozen Portland-area men with pimping offenses. The men are accused of transporting sex workers across state lines to engage in prostitution.
One of the men, 35-year-old Portland rapper Mark Miles, (pictured) who performs as Meezilini, is accused of bringing Ivanice Harris, 29, to Hawaii last year, where she was murdered, apparently while working.
U.S. Marines Master Sgt. Nathaniel Crosby, 39, faces a military trial March 17 in the case. He has been charged with unpremeditated murder, voluntary manslaughter, obstructing justice, and attempting to patronize a prostitute.
In Oregon, federal officials today said another seven local pimps are charged with transporting sex workers across state lines to Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, and Minnesota. No trial date has been announced for the men.
They are, in addition to Miles: Steven Huffman, Jr., 40, Jorge Ortega, Jr., 32, Jermaine Hankins, 38, Michael Willis, Jr., 28, DeShawne Howard, 23, Samuel Howard, Jr., 32, and Camillio Carradine, 33.
The Department of Justice press release on the indictments listed each defendant along with his colorful street name, such “Meezilini,” “Chocolate,” “Flawless,” “Mackin Mike” and “Killa.”
“Local traffickers are sending young Portland-area women all over the country to have sex with strangers for money,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall in a statement. “These young women, far from home, are being placed in grave danger, so that their pimp can buy himself a Mercedes, or a Cadillac, or an expensive pair of jeans. The reason traffickers do what they do is because they think they can get away with it; we are here to show them they are wrong.”
The FBI led the investigations. Officials said two more individuals have not yet been arrested but are accused of sex trafficking a minor, as well as transporting the minor for prostitution. The DOJ says it is not naming them until they are in custody.
"Until now, successful pimps reaped all the rewards with none of the risk, while the girls and young women they manipulated faced a life of violence and abuse," said Kevin Rickett, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Operations such as this one show the FBI can make a difference, but sex trafficking is much more than just a law enforcement problem. This is an issue that our shared community must both acknowledge and address."