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HSI investigation leads to sentencing of Texas man to more than 2 decades for sex trafficking minors

TAMPA – A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tampa investigation, as part of the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force (TBHTTF) of the Middle District of Florida, led to the sentencing of a Texas man to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison for sex trafficking a minor, enticement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, use of a facility of interstate commerce in aid of racketeering, and interstate transportation of a person for commercial sex acts.

Jamel Muldrew, 34, of Houston, was sentenced Oct. 5, 2022, after a TBHTTF investigation revealed that he had been trafficking the minor victim across the country to engage in commercial sex acts. Specifically, from February until April 2021, Muldrew trafficked the minor victim in the states of Texas, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, where he was ultimately arrested.

As part of his sentence, the court also ordered Muldrew to pay $27,740 in restitution to Victim 1, to forfeit electronic devices used in the commission of the offense, and to register as a sex offender. Muldrew pleaded guilty on March 10, 2022.

“This heinous predator trafficked his minor victim around the country to engage in prostitution, including in Texas, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kristopher Pagitt, HSI Tampa. “The success of this investigation is a direct result of the outstanding law enforcement partnerships we have in the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force, to include the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston (Texas) Police Department, as well as non-governmental organizations such as Selah-Freedom.”

According to court documents, on April 9, 2021, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office coordinated the operation to identify victims of human trafficking, rescue those victims, and identify and arrest their traffickers. As part of this operation, an undercover officer arranged with the minor victim to engage in commercial sex acts at a local hotel in exchange for $800.

Muldrew arrived at the hotel driving the minor victim and was arrested on state charges. At the time of his arrest, officers recovered multiple fictious identity cards on Muldrew’s person, for both him and the minor victim.

This case was investigated by HSI Tampa, with the assistance from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department. The case was prosecuted by the office of United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg, Middle District Florida, Assistant United States Attorneys Ilyssa M. Spergel and Carlton C. Gammons.

The TBHTTF of the Middle District of Florida is one of 13 task forces in the country to receive grant funding from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Task Force is a collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement agents working together with organizations to detect, investigate, and prosecute human trafficking in the Tampa Bay area. This includes trafficking of minors, forced labor, transnational sex trafficking, and sex trafficking of adults by force, fraud, or coercion.

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