A Jamaican national who was previously ordered removed from the country but has since returned has been accused in a fourteen count federal indictment for a host of charges including International human trafficking.
Damion St. Patrick Baston, 36, was located, detained and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents (ICE-HIS) and Diplomatic Security agents (DS) in New York on December 17. He remains in custody and is expected to make an appearance in federal district court here in Miami in the near future.
Diplomatic Security agents (DS) is a global leader in counterterrorism, international investigations, security technology, cyber security, threat analysis, and protection of people, property, and information. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HIS is the primary investigative unit of the Department of Homeland Security in charge of investigating a wide-ranging assortment of international and domestic activities regarding the illegal whereabouts and movements of persons and merchandise coming into, presently inside, as well as outside the USA.
Baston is charged with three counts of money laundering, aggravated identity theft, five counts of transporting multiple individuals for prostitution, importation of an alien for prostitution, and use of a passport which was obtained and secured by presenting false statements. He faces the additional charge of illegal reentry of an alien previously ordered removed from the country, in violation of the United States Code.
In Miami, by practices of fraud, coercion, and force, Baston was charged by Indictment with one count of sex trafficking of a victim, both in Australia as well as numerous other countries globally, and the Southern District of Florida. All counts are in violation of the United States Code. Specifically, Code, Section 1596 affords for extraterritorial jurisdiction in cases of human trafficking. Additionally, a second count of forcible sex trafficking of a victim is listed within the Indictment relating to the Southern District of Florida accusations. These two charges by themselves would imprison Baston with a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years of imprisonment and a possible maximum penalty of life in prison if he is convicted of the allegations.
Other charges include five counts of transporting multiple individuals for prostitution, importation of an alien for prostitution, use of a passport secured by false statement, aggravated identity theft, and three counts of money laundering, all in violation of separate sections of the United States Code, Titles 8 and 18. The code’s Title 8, Section 1326 relates to the illegal reentry of an alien previously ordered removed.
The arrest was announced mutually by Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, both from the Miami Field Office as well as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, who collectively conducted the investigation.
In a statement released by U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer he was quoted as stating that “Human trafficking is one of the most deplorable crimes our office prosecutes.” Alysa D. Erichs also commented that “these victims are taken advantage of on a daily basis.” Ms. Erichs is the Special agent in charge of the Miami field office of HS Investigations. Also commenting, Special Agent in Charge Wendy A. Bashnan of the DS Miami Field Office said “We hope that the long awaited prosecution of Baston will provide some satisfaction to the many individuals he victimized and their families. DS’s worldwide presence at U.S. Embassies around the world allows us to work with our host country law enforcement to track and capture fugitives who have fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution.”
To read the official United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida press release, click here.
As plainly stated in the above commentary, a guilty plea and conviction for any crime relating to human trafficking and other general sex crimes can be exceedingly unforgiving and ordinarily include prolonged incarceration, including the possibility of sentence that may result with a sentence of life in prison. Any allegations relating to such offenses will be tried in the federal court system. It is crucial that if you, a friend or loved one is charged with any federal sex crime or any other crime tried under federal jurisdiction, a knowledgeable criminal attorney with a strong understanding of federal law is required.
In the tri-county area of South Florida (Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties), Mr. Cohen’s office can provide you with the skilled representation that is essential to protect your rights. He has defended many cases concerning these types of charges and has returned the best possible results for his clients established on the overall circumstances of the offenses purported by the prosecution.
An attorney who previously worked as a Federal prosecutor and knows the ins and outs of the Federal system can be a great asset in planning a proper strategy no matter what area of federal law is involved.
Mr. Cohen is a board certified trial lawyer specializing in federal criminal defense. He is rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, among other counties. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.
Mr. Cohen’s practice has recently expanded and he is now a partner in the prestigious law firm of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP. Through this partnership, Mr. Cohen can now lead your defense in the New York Metropolitan area in addition to the Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach County areas as well as all other jurisdictions throughout the state of Florida
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