HOUSTON (CN) – A Houston man charged with sex trafficking children and adults through massage parlors and spas was indicted on additional charges of witness tampering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Andre McDaniels, 42, is one of six defendants named in a superseding 18-count indictment returned in 2011, alleging sex trafficking of children, conspiracy and coercing adults to perform commercial sex acts, federal prosecutors said in a statement.
“According to the allegations in the indictment returned just a short time ago, on Jan. 6, 2012, McDaniels attempted to contact witnesses and other law enforcement officials in his pending criminal case and to intimidate, threaten or corruptly persuade them in an effort to influence or prevent their testimony,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
McDaniels and his co-defendants are accused of operating commercial sex businesses in Houston disguised as modeling studios, health spas and massage parlors. The group used websites and sexually oriented publications to advertise their business, prosecutors said.
“The criminal enterprise allegedly transported women and minors to and from the Houston area and had ties to Kansas, Nevada, Arizona and Florida,” prosecutors said in the statement. “Women and minors as young as 16 were enticed and coerced into prostitution and were routinely beaten and threatened, according to that indictment. The defendants allegedly collected any proceeds the women and minors received as a result of ‘dates’ rendering them dependent upon the defendants for basic necessities.”
Witness tampering is punishable by up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said. McDaniels “has been and will remain in custody pending further criminal proceedings,” the U.S. attorney added.