Bolingbrook man convicted in sex trafficking ring - New York News

Bolingbrook man convicted in sex trafficking ring

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BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Bolingbrook man was convicted Tuesday on federal charges he ran a sex-trafficking ring that forced at least four people into prostitution, including a 17-year-old girl.

A jury deliberated less than two hours before finding McKenzie Carson, 41, guilty of four sex trafficking charges, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a release.

All four victims testified at his federal trial, saying Carson -- also known as "Casino" and "Joe Taylor" -- chose vulnerable young victims, and threatened them with violence in order to exploit them, the release said.

"The victims bared their souls and told you they were frightened for their lives," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Levin told jurors during the trial.

Carson used drugs, including heroin, to control them, and was known to beat or rape his victims when they broke the rules or disobeyed him, the release said.

"This was not a business relationship, but a relationship between predator and prey," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bethany Biesenthal said in her closing argument.

One victim, a 17-year-old girl, was introduced to Carson in November 2009 after she told a neighbor she was having financial problems, according to an FBI affidavit from 2012.

When she told Carson she was only 17, he allegedly replied, "That don't matter," according to the affidavit.

Carson allegedly raped her in a motel room and forced her to start working for him that night as a prostitute. He threatened to kill her if she didn't continue working for him, and left her with no way to contact anyone, the FBI affidavit said.

The FBI claimed Carson only let the girl go after she turned over all the money she made performing sex acts. After he handed over her phone, she called her mother and they were reunited. By that time, the girl's mother had filed a missing persons report with police.

The sex trafficking ring continued between late 2009 and November 2010 at least, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison on each count, but could be sentenced to life in prison, the release said.

A sentencing date on the federal charges has not yet been announced, but Carson will appear for a status hearing before U.S. District Judge Jane Elaine Bucklo on May 2, 2014.

Carson previously served 31 days in Will County Jail in Joliet after being convicted in May 2008 of a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, according to records on file in Will County Circuit Court.

He was sentenced to prison in November of that year after being found guilty of a felony charge of pandering without compulsion in Westmont, DuPage County Circuit Court records showed.

Carson was arrested again in August 2010 and charged with soliciting a prostitute, during a sting operation conducted by Oswego police, records indicated.

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