Affidavit reveals how FBI caught head of prostitution ring in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Charlottesville man accused of running a prostitution ring made his first appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon.
Brian Lamont Turner is facing federal prostitution and drug charges under an anti-human trafficking law.
An affidavit that shows how Turner was caught and details how Turner brought victims across state lines to engage in prostitution, specifically during a 10-day time period last June.
The FBI began their investigation into Turner in February of 2023.
The FBI found an online account that Turner was using to post prostitution ads. Those ads were on a sex website in multiple states. The account was created in December of 2022 and posted an advertisement for prostitutes in Charlottesville just last week.
A big break in the investigation came in July of 2023. The FBI connected that account to Turner by recovering his phone at the scene of a carjacking in South Carolina. Turner was allegedly the suspect in that incident as well.
The phone also had messages between Turner and the victims and prostitution clients. Those messages showed him arranging commercial sex dates.
Interviews with victims revealed Turner was allegedly involved in prostitution since at least 2019.
One victim said Turner approached her in North Carolina when she was 18 and addicted to heroin. She said he used her addiction to control her and got her hooked on other drugs.
Victims said Turner handled all the commercial sex dates and drove them to motels. They said he took half of the money they earned.
The affidavit also said that Turner often used a gun. He was arrested in South Carolina in 2019 for threatening a woman with a gun, forcing her to take commercial sex dates.
At the time of that arrest in 2019, Turner was a fugitive in Virginia after skipping a court date for prostitution charges in Stafford County.
The affidavit doesn't say specifically how long Turner was allegedly operating in the Charlottesville area.
Turner has a very long list of other prior convictions. So why was Turner on the streets in the first place? CBS19 legal analyst Scott Goodman said Turner could have cooperated with law enforcement or had a lenient judge.
This time around though, with a full FBI investigation and arrest, Goodman doesn't see that happening.
“This is a case that police officers have been able to develop, because some of the drug users victims of Mr. Turner, that have been arrested, maybe on lower level drug charges, they've turned on him and they have agreed to cooperate and testify against him,” Goodman said.
Goodman said he would expect Turner to take a deal because of the mountain of evidence against him. He added that it's hard to tell what will happen, but if Turner is found guilty, he'll be going to prison for a number of years.