Updated Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Two Pierce County men have been charged with promoting the commercial sexual abuse of a minor and human trafficking for allegedly pimping out four juvenile girls and taking one 16-year-old across state lines to prostitute for them in California.
Though Jevante McCray, 20, and Isiah Martin, 18, were charged Friday in connection with four alleged victims, the men are suspected of pimping out at least six juveniles, ages 13 to 16, and two or more women between December 2011 and April, charging papers say.
Martin was arrested and booked into the Pierce County Jail in May, but police are looking for McCray, who is now wanted on a bench warrant, according to jail and court records. Both men have lengthy criminal records as juveniles, court records show.
The investigation of McCray and Martin was a collaboration between sheriff's detectives in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties as well as investigators in Pomona, Calif., and FBI agents assigned to the Innocence Lost Taskforce. Motel. Phone records, email addresses, text messages and dozens of ads posted on Backpage.com were all used to track the men's alleged prostitution activities in California, as well as in Lakewood, Shoreline and Everett, court records show.
In January, police in Pomona, outside of Los Angeles, responded to a disturbance at a motel. They arrived to find a 16-year-old Puyallup girl who told them McCray had beaten and choked her after she refused his order to "walk the track" that day, according to charging papers.
She also said the two men — whom she had met a month earlier at a party in Tacoma — had previously beaten her and withheld food when she refused to do what they told her to do, the papers say. Both McCray and Martin left the motel before police arrived, leaving behind most of their belongings, they say.
In addition to the Puyallup girl, McCray and Martin are accused of forcing 13-, 14- and 16-year-old girls, all from Tacoma, into prostitution, according to charging papers. The 16-year-old is described in charging documents as both McCray's girlfriend and cousin.
Police responded to ads posted in the "escort" section on Backpage.com and set up "dates" with at least two of the girls, the papers say.
One 14-year-old told police in February that she had met Martin on Facebook, according to the papers. He was charged with promoting the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor in Pierce County that month and ordered to stay 1,000 feet from the girl, charging papers say.
It is not clear when he got out of jail, but when Martin was arrested outside the Sunrise Motor Inn in Everett in April, the 14-year-old Tacoma girl, along with another 14-year-old girl, were found inside a motel room that Martin had rented, the papers say.
Additionally, detectives found a photo posted on McCray's Facebook page that showed McCray and Martin sitting on a bathroom countertop, "holding what appears to be large sums of cash," charging papers say. The detectives recognized the countertop and a bedspread that was visible in the background as being from the Sunrise Motor Inn, the papers say.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org