The leader of a Baton Rouge-based interstate sex-trafficking ring involving multiple prostitutes, including a juvenile girl, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges.
Jeremie Jamocus Tate admitted in Baton Rouge federal court that he took most of the proceeds from the enterprise and distributed controlled substances to the prostitutes and others to manipulate and intimidate them, federal authorities said.
Tate also acknowledged enticing a prostitute to travel from Baton Rouge to Las Vegas in December 2012 to engage in prostitution for him.
Tate, 33, of Zachary, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully use interstate facilities in aid of racketeering, two counts of use of interstate facilities in aid of racketeering, and enticing another to travel interstate for prostitution.
U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick did not set a sentencing date.
A tip from a Baton Rouge hotel employee led to Tate’s arrest in September 2013. An undercover investigation by local and state authorities led them that month to a 16-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman who told authorities they were forced to have sex with multiple men daily in exchange for money that they paid directly to Tate.
The woman told authorities she had worked for Tate for several months. The girl had worked for him for only a few days, an affidavit of probable cause states.
The girl told authorities she wanted to escape her situation but Tate would not allow it. The woman said Tate had physically assaulted her when she tried to leave in the past, according to the affidavit.
Tate and others used telephones and the Internet to arrange online advertising, schedule prostitution sessions and recruit others, according to a statement released Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Walt Green, Louisiana Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell and Michael Anderson, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans Division.
Attorney General’s Office investigators first contacted State Police after receiving a cyber tip that a 16-year-old girl was offering sexual services in an advertisement on Backpage.com. An undercover East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy arranged a meeting with the girl and the woman in what the ad described as a “two girl special,” the affidavit states.
The deputy got the girl and woman in a South Acadian Thruway hotel room and agreed to pay them $800 for 90 minutes of sexual acts. Deputies soon after broke down the locked hotel room door and arrested the woman and 16-year-old.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the charges against the 19-year-old woman and 16-year-old girl were dismissed.
Three other people already have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing for their roles in the sex-trafficking operation.
A Baton Rouge federal grand jury indicted Tate and Roxanne R. Merritt, 22, of Greenwell Springs, last April on sex-trafficking charges.
Tate and Merritt were accused of conspiring to promote Tate’s prostitution business.
The federal charges against Merritt are pending. She also faces prostitution and drug charges in state court.
Tate also faces state charges stemming from his 2013 arrest. He is charged with trafficking of children for sexual purposes.