PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Anthony Jones, 38, of Wilmington, DE, was sentenced to 21 years in prison, 10 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $15,160 in restitution to his victims by United States District Court Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro for his role in a sex trafficking ring that victimized vulnerable children and young women throughout the mid-Atlantic.
In April 2019, following a two-week trial, the defendant was found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion and three counts of sex trafficking of minors by force, fraud, and coercion.
The evidence at trial showed that Anthony Jones helped manage the sex trafficking enterprise led by co-defendant Dkyle Bridges. The multi-year sex trafficking conspiracy preyed on teenage girls and young women looking for a home and support. Once lured into the trafficking circle, the victims were compelled to engage in commercial sex acts in southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and elsewhere, for the co-defendants’ financial benefit. Co-defendant Bridges used violent and coercive tactics to force the victims to remain in his sex trafficking operation – including pouring water on them to keep them awake, choking them, and assaulting them. Defendant Anthony Jones, and his co-defendant and brother Kristian Jones, helped Bridges run the ring by handling logistics including providing security, collecting money, and reserving hotel rooms.
The investigation began in November 2016, when a Tinicum Township police officer stopped a vehicle that had recently left a hotel known to be frequented by individuals engaged in prostitution. The driver admitted to the officer that he had just met a prostitute at the hotel and had arranged the “date” through a website called Backpage.com. Law enforcement went to the room that the customer had visited, and discovered Kristian Jones, two minor girls, condoms, and cell phones containing communications with Bridges about the sex trafficking conspiracy. The room had been rented by Anthony Jones.
Bridges and Kristian Jones were also convicted after trial for their roles in this sex trafficking conspiracy and both were sentenced last year. Bridges was sentenced to 35 years in prison; and Kristian Jones was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
“Anthony Jones and his coconspirators used the bodies of children for their own financial benefit,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “This sentence of 21 years and the decades-long sentences handed down to his codefendants reflect the seriousness with which the federal justice system will treat defendants convicted of sex trafficking offenses. We will continue to work collectively to investigate and prosecute these destructive crimes committed against some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
“Anthony Jones and his co-defendants sexually exploited women and girls for profit, across multiple years and state lines,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “All have now been brought to justice and received lengthy prison sentences, which we hope will bring their victims some comfort. The FBI and our partners are working every day to shut down these predatory sex traffickers who see vulnerable human beings as little more than walking dollar signs. If you’re being victimized, or know of someone being trafficked, please reach out to us at 215-418-4000 or tips.fbi.gov. You can do so anonymously if you like.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
The case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation – Philadelphia with assistance from the Tinicum Township Police Department; Newark, Delaware Police Department; Delaware State Police; Delaware River Bay Authority; and Philadelphia Police Department; and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Priya T. De Souza and Department of Justice Trial Attorney with the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) Jessica L. Urban.