BOSTON — A Boston man has been charged with sex and cocaine trafficking stemming from his alleged maintenance of a drug and sex trafficking facility operating out of a tent on Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard (Mass and Cass) .
Jonathan Vaughan, aka “Ason”, 35, was charged with three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, two counts of transporting an individual for prostitution and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Vaughan will make a first appearance in federal court in Boston on Monday, April 11, 2022.
According to the indictment unsealed today, from at least June 2019 to October 2021, Vaughan recruited and trafficked three female victims into engaging in commercial sex acts through threats of force, fraud and coercion. He alleged that in or around October 2021, Vaughan transported two of the victims for prostitution to another state. At the time of his arrest on state charges on October 13, 2021, Vaughan allegedly possessed 15 bags of cocaine intended for distribution to drug addicts.
“Sex trafficking is a heinous crime that inflicts immeasurable pain and trauma on victims and communities,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Vaughan allegedly exploited and exploited several vulnerable victims, through coercion and force, to engage in sexual acts for his own financial gain. He took advantage of people’s pain. These alleged offenses are all too real – sex trafficking happens all the time, even right now, in our communities, but often goes unnoticed or ignored. Not anymore. My office will continue to work with community partners who support victims and will use every means possible in our relentless pursuit to root out sex trafficking and the predators who commit this violence and harm.
“Vaughan allegedly used violence, threats and drugs to coerce and control the women, profiting financially by forcing them to provide sexual services for a fee and making it extremely difficult for them to escape,” said Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge. of the Boston Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations. “Homeland Security Investigations is grateful to our partners at the Barnstable Police Department and the Boston Police Department for their cooperation in this case. Partnerships like these are essential to our mission to investigate suspected human traffickers and help victims feel stable, safe and secure.
“The Barnstable Police Department recognizes the enormous impact on victims and the community in these types of cases. We also know that human trafficking touches all walks of life and has extended its toxic reach to the Cape Cod community. Knowing that it is often difficult for a single agency to investigate these cases on its own, we have dedicated Detective Katie Parache as a full-time officer of the Department of Security’s Human Trafficking Task Force. Detective Parache will continue to work with state and federal partners to identify, target and eradicate individuals praying on vulnerable members of Cape Cod. We are grateful for these strong partnerships that have allowed us to fully investigate this matter. and to bring justice and peace to the victims,” Barnstable Police Department Chief Matthew Sonnabend said.
“The Boston Police Department is committed to identifying and investigating sex trafficking to keep victims safe and to hold offenders accountable for horrific crimes like these. This individual has taken advantage of and terrorized the most vulnerable members of our community. I would like to thank the members of the Boston Police Department who worked on this investigation as well as our law enforcement partners for the tremendous collaboration and coordination that brought this violent offender to justice. This indictment serves as a clear message that this egregious behavior will never be tolerated,” said Boston Police Department Chief Superintendent Gregory Long.
“Jonathan Vaughan is charged with sexually exploiting vulnerable women by force and coercion, and transporting them to other states,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division . “Anyone who commits this heinous crime should know that the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force will prosecute them vigorously, while providing their victims with the resources they need to recover from the trauma they have suffered. ‘they suffered.
“My office works diligently to address the harm inflicted by violent human traffickers while ensuring that victims of sexual exploitation receive the support and services they need and deserve. These indictments represent what we can do on behalf of survivors and our communities when we work across agencies. I am grateful to the members of my Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit, the Boston Police Department and our federal partners for their tireless work in holding a violent individual accountable and protecting vulnerable members of our community from operation,” said Kevin R. Hayden. , Suffolk County Attorney.
According to court documents, dating back to at least 2019, Vaughan systematically attacked women throughout Massachusetts, particularly in Boston and Cape Cod. From at least late spring or early summer 2021 until his arrest on state charges in mid-October 2021, Vaughan allegedly maintained a tent at Mass and Cass which he used as a hub for drug distribution and the recruitment and trafficking of women.
Vaughan allegedly allowed his sex-trafficking victims to stay and bring “dates” back to his tent as long as he received the proceeds of the commercial sex acts the women engaged in under his direction. It is alleged that he recruited victims in and around Mass and Cass and Downtown Crossing as well as on the internet, including on Facebook. According to court documents, Vaughan also brought his victims to hotels in locations including Boston, Chelsea, Saugus, Cape Town, as well as Queens and Manhattan, NY.
Vaughan also allegedly forced at least two of his victims to solicit each other outdoors, walking “the trail” in areas such as Mass and Cass, Broadway in Chelsea and in and around Times Square in Manhattan, NY. at least In 2019, Vaughan allegedly committed physical and sexual violence against his victims to manipulate them and assert their power and control. The inquest also revealed that Vaughan supposedly called himself “Ason the Pimp” and had a tattoo on his chest reading: “Pimp or Die”.
Members of the public who believe they are victims of this crime should contact USAMA.VictimAssistance@usdoj.gov.
If you or someone you know is at risk of being affected or trafficked for commercial sex, please visit https://polarisproject.org/ for information and resources.
The charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to life in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of transporting an individual for prostitution carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of probation and a fine of up to $250,000. The possession with intent to distribute cocaine charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years and up to life on probation and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on US sentencing guidelines and the laws that govern sentencing in a criminal case.
U.S. Attorney Rollins, HSI SAC Millhollin, FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta, Barnstable Sonnabend Police Chief, Suffolk County DA Hayden and Acting BPD Commissioner Long made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey E. Weinstein of Rollins’ civil rights enforcement team is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.