Houston Man Charged with Trafficking 13-Year-Old Female into the New Orleans Area to Perform Commercial Sex Acts

Published 6:42 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that RANDI LEWIS, age 34, from Houston, Texas, was charged on January 28, 2022 by a federal grand jury in a five-count indictment with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1594(c) and 1591(a) (Count 1), sex trafficking of a child under the age of 14, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591(a) and 1591(b)(1) (Count 2), interstate transportation of a minor for purposes of unlawful sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(a) (Count 3), coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b) (Count 4), and production of child sexual abuse material, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a) (Count 5), for his role in bringing a thirteen-year-old female from Houston to New Orleans for the purpose of her engaging in commercial sex acts in June 2021.

According to the indictment, LEWIS met his co-conspirator, a female born in 2003, in about 2019.  LEWIS recruited the female to engage in commercial sex acts under his direction, and she complied.  Together, LEWIS and his co-conspirator met the victim, who was thirteen years old, in the Houston, Texas area not later than June 21, 2021.  At LEWIS’s direction, the co-conspirator recruited the victim to perform commercial sex acts under LEWIS’s direction.  Soon thereafter, she introduced the victim to LEWIS.  After the victim agreed, LEWIS arranged for he, his co-conspirator, and the victim to travel to New Orleans on a Greyhound bus for the purpose of his co-conspirator and the victim to engage in commercial sex acts.  Between June 22, 2021, and June 24, 2021, his co-conspirator and the victim performed multiple commercial sex acts in the New Orleans area.  LEWIS created and caused to be created advertisements on an online classified ad service commonly used to advertise sexual services in exchange for money, through which LEWIS received telephone calls, text messages, and messages via social media applications inquiring about, scheduling, and arranging prostitution calls with his co-conspirator and the victim.  LEWIS arranged for sexually explicit pictures of the victim to be used in the advertisements.  LEWIS and his co-conspirator also gave the victim illicit and mood-altering drugs, including marijuana, to numb her senses, control her behavior, and/or to encourage her to engage in commercial sex acts.  Law enforcement authorities recovered the victim at a hotel in Terrytown, Louisiana, on June 24, 2021.

If convicted on all counts, LEWIS faces the following maximum sentence for each count: a a maximum term of life in prison as to Count 1, mandatory minimum term of fifteen (15) years and up to a maximum term of life as to Count 2, mandatory minimum term of ten (10) years and up to a maximum term of life as to each of Counts 3 and 4, and a mandatory minimum term of fifteen (15) years and up to a maximum term of thirty (30) years as to Count 5, a fine of up to $250,000.00, a lifetime of supervised release after imprisonment, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee per count.  LEWIS may also be required to register as a sex offender.

U. S. Attorney Evans reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.  For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg is in charge of the prosecution.