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Feds: Human traffickers ‘preyed on’ at-risk girls from Westchester facility

December 13, 2018 - 3:22 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Authorities announced charges against 19 alleged sex traffickers on Thursday.

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Feds and the NYPD say the suspects targeted girls in the child welfare system, including nine who were living in a residential facility for at-risk kids in Westchester County.

"Children in the child welfare system are among the most vulnerable in our society. As alleged in today's charges, the defendants and their conspirators callously recruited girls as young as 13 from a residential treatment facility for at-risk youth, then sexually trafficked and prostituted them for financial profit. Together with our partners in the FBI, we will work tirelessly to ensure that anyone who sexually traffics a minor is subject to the full force of the law," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.

Ten people were arrested on Thursday, eight others were picked up on Wednesday, and one other suspect remains at large.

"Sex traffickers routinely prey on young people and those in our communities who are the most defenseless. As alleged, the defendants targeted vulnerable women and girls, including residents of a facility for at-risk children and adolescents, knowing that the victims would be more susceptible to their claims. The FBI Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force and our law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue and hold accountable anyone who exploits others for their own profit," FBI Assistant Director-In-Charge, Bill Sweeney Jr. said.

Sean Merchant, 31, Martique McGriff, 30, Jermaine Myrie, 34, Reuben Sands, 59, Steven Lesane, 31, Hubert Dupigny, 34, Hensley Dupigny, 29, Dariel Braham, 45, Christopher Bullock, 36, Adrienne Roberts, 59, Luidji Benjamin, 22, Lawrence Walsh, 25, Jabari Kennedy, 26, Cimmie Wright, 24, Nazeer Vickers, 36, Saeed Malik Thomas Norris, 24, Ruben Morciglio, 31, Carlton Vanier, 26, and Lloyd Kidd, 28 all face charges in connection with the alleged trafficking ring.

Human trafficking convictions can lead to a life sentence.