Updated on June 14 at 12:15 p.m.
A West Hempstead gang member was indicted in federal court in Central Islip on June 10, on numerous charges of sex trafficking. The defendant, Joshua Lampley-Reid, 26, an alleged member of the Makk Balla set of the Bloods street gang, was arrested June 9.
“As alleged, through violence, coercion and manipulation, the defendant exploited and demeaned both underage and adult female victims by forcing them to engage in commercial sex acts and posting sexually explicit photographs of them on the internet,” Acting U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko stated in a news release. “This office will use every tool in its law enforcement arsenal to combat the sexual exploitation of women, especially young girls, and ensure that predators like the defendant are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, from December 2019 until his arrest, Lampley-Reid allegedly trafficked victims on Long Island, including at the Coliseum Motel in East Meadow, the Freeport Inn and the Best Western Rockville Centre, as well as out of state, in places such as Maryland, North Carolina and Florida. His alleged trafficking began shortly after he was released from state prison, where he served more than a year for robbery.
Lampley-Reid also allegedly used violence, and the threat of violence, to compel commercial sex acts by numerous women for his financial benefit, including minors as young as 15, authorities said.
He used social media and other internet applications to establish relationships with potential victims, groomed them by feigning a romantic interest in them, manipulated them into working for him as prostitutes, and then effectively enslaved them through acts of force and coercion, the officials said.
Lampley-Reid demanded that the proceeds of prostitution be turned over to him, and any resistance from the victims was met with violence or threats. Homeland Security Investigations teamed with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Suffolk County sheriff’s office in April to conduct the investigation.
“The deplorable actions of this one man will affect the lives of these young girls for years to come,” said HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh. “HSI works closely with its law enforcement partners in a victim-centered approach to rescue the victims and keep them safe. Today we are sending a unified message to anyone perpetrating crimes against children: No matter who you are, we will bring every resource available to hold you accountable for your crimes.”
Lampley-Reid’s attorney, Tracey Gaffey, of the Federal Defenders, declined to comment on the accusations.
“Sex trafficking is a particularly heinous crime that targets some of the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon. “Individuals who perpetrate this crime use drugs, intimidation and, ultimately, violence to lure in their victims for financial gain while slowly destroying their lives. I applaud this arrest, and will continue to support and work closely with both our local and federal partners to help eliminate this scourge from our communities.”
If convicted of sex trafficking of a minor, Lampley-Reid faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison. If convicted of producing child pornography, he faces a 15- to 30-year sentence.