Two Sent to Prison
for More than 20 Years for Sex Trafficking of
HOUSTON – A
Houston man and woman have been ordered to federal prison following their
convictions of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and sex
trafficking of minors, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. A federal
jury convicted Jazsmine Arielle Joseph, 28, on Sept. 2, 2016, following a
week-long trial and approximately six hours of deliberation. Co-defendant
Xavier Cooper, 32, had previously pleaded guilty.
District Judge David Hittner handed both defendants 262-month prison sentences.
They were further ordered to serve five years of supervised release following
completion of the prison terms, during which time he will have to comply with
numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children. Both will
also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
trial, the jury ultimately found Joseph engaged in a conspiracy with Cooper
between October 2014 through March 2015, in which they engaged in conspiracy to
entice, transport and harbor a minor female to engage in commercial sex. Joseph
paid for and directed the posting of prostitution ads online. Joseph also
rented hotel rooms where the minor engaged in commercial sex acts.
heard that the minor engaged in numerous commercial sex acts over the course of
the conspiracy culminating with her recovery during a highly publicized sting
operation on March 31, 2015. At trial, Joseph claimed she was “just helping a
friend” in regard to her renting the hotel room and assisting with the posting
of the prostitution ads. The jury also heard about and viewed text messages
between Joseph and Cooper discussing the minor victim. The texts discussed
making sure the victim was ready to receive customers and when customers were
on their way.
attempted to convey her innocence by testifying she was trying to help the
victim and protect her from Cooper. The jury was not convinced and found
her guilty on both counts.
remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be
determined in the near future.
Department of Public Safety investigated with the assistance of the FBI.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Leo and Sherri L. Zack prosecuted the
was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched
in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of
child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys'
Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and
local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually
exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information
about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information
about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab