Md. Indictments in Human Trafficking Investigation

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BALTIMORE (May 16, 2019) - Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced the indictments of two individuals charged with human trafficking. The indictments charge that Valdez Lawrence of Baltimore, and Mary Carr of Dundalk, forced women to engage in sexual acts for money in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Howard County. Charges in the indictment include human trafficking, conspiracy, receiving earnings of a prostitute, and identity fraud.

As part of an investigation in August 2018, Anne Arundel County detectives came in contact with a victim engaging in prostitution. The victim stated she was working for Lawrence and that he controlled her movements and interactions with clients. Detectives began to investigate both Lawrence and Carr and were able to learn how they enticed women to work for them and then coerced and threatened them to continue engaging in human trafficking.

Over the course of nine months, Anne Arundel County detectives conducted surveillance on Lawrence and Carr and met with victims who were being trafficked. Detectives followed the their movements to several motels and hotels in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Howard County. Valdez and Lawrence arranged for the victims to meet with countless men willing to pay for sexual activity in each of these jurisdictions. The women had to ask permission to buy food and personal items and were forced to meet monetary quotas each week or face repercussions from Valdez and Carr. The women were also forced to remain in the hotel rooms until they were told to move and were required to turn over all of the money given to them by the men paying for the sexual acts.

"These individuals brutalized women, and they engaged in human trafficking for profit throughout Central Maryland," said Attorney General Frosh. "The victims suffered incalculable harm, and we are grateful to our law enforcement partners for their collaboration in bringing the perpetrators to justice."

"This case could have easily been closed with a quick prostitution arrest," said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy J. Altomare. "The diligence, tenacity and commitment to victims of our Anne Arundel County Police Department's Vice Unit is to be applauded but not surprising. This is what our community expects from our officers and detectives, and this caliber of police work is what our cops work hard to give them. We would like to thank the Office of the Attorney General for their help with this case."

The investigation was led by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General and the Anne Arundel County Police Department. In making today's announcement, Attorney General Frosh thanked Organized Crime Chief Katie Dorian, the Anne Arundel County Police Vice Unit, Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, and Assistant Attorney General Kelly A. Hooper, who is prosecuting the case.

A criminal indictment is merely an accusation of wrongdoing, and a defendant is presumed innocent until the state proves the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
 
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