PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – One of the two people linked to a multi-state human sex trafficking operation plead guilty in U.S. District Court.
Konia Prinster plead guilty on Tuesday before Judge Marco A. Hernandez to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. She will remain out of custody until sentencing, which isn’t scheduled for Feb. 13.
Her co-defendant, Taquarius Kaream Ford, was arraigned on a superseding indictment in May 2015. He is currently charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, obstruction of enforcement, and tampering with a witness or informant.
The investigation started in February 2012. According to court documents, Port of Portland police were called to a hotel near the airport to investigate prostitution offenses that may have been occurring in two rooms.
When the officers knocked on one of the room doors, Prinster answered, according to court documents. Ford could be seen inside the room working on a computer. It was determined that both rooms were registered to Prinster, according to court documents.
According to court documents, a female inside one of the rooms exited and appeared to be “scared and confused.” She told officers that Ford and Prinster met her in Idaho, recruited her with promises of a modeling career. The two reportedly flew her to California where “they groomed her to become an ‘escort’ and she endured Ford’s violent assaults.”
The group traveled to Portland where Ford forced the female to watch Prinster having sex with a customer as a show of her “loyalty,” according to court documents.
Prosecutors also allege that Ford and Prinster also threatened to harm one of their alleged victim’s family.
Records also show that Prinster took “sexy and erotic nude photos of the [female].”
The trial for Ford is scheduled to start Dec. 5 and could last 12 days.
At the time of his arrest, federal prosecutors alleged that Ford convinced young women to travel to Los Angeles, wined and dined them in Hollywood, and then told them that if they want to be models, they must first work for him as prostitutes.
The FBI has identified additional victims of Ford in Idaho, Arizona, and Georgia.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a statutory maximum of life imprisonment.
Anyone with information on human sex trafficking is urged to call the Portland FBI Field Office at (503) 224-4181.