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Standoff ends: Charlottesville man charged with running sex ring

A standoff between a Charlottesville man and federal agents in the city’s Martha Jefferson neighborhood was “peacefully resolved” Wednesday morning after nearly 16 hours.

The man, identified as 42-year-old Brian Lamont Turner, has been taken into custody and charged with running a prostitution ring, preying on women with drug addictions and advertising their services in hundreds of advertisements in cities up and down the East Coast.

Lamont has been officially charged with violating the Mann Act, previously the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910, which criminalizes the transportation of women and girls for the purpose of prostitution.

“Turner specifically targeted female victims who had drug addictions, recruited them, and used their drug addictions to control them,” the Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Turner became the women’s main source of drug supply and threatened to withhold drugs from his victims if they did not complete their commercial sex dates or follow his directions.”

Turner is said to have used electronic transmissions to not only advertise the women but communicate instructions and information to his victims.

“Text messages show him providing instructions and information to his victims about dates, such as how long the date was scheduled to last and how much money to charge,” federal authorities said.

He also transported his victims to and from hotels, waiting nearby while his victims met with their clients.

Turner advertised in cities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the FBI reported. One of his most recent listings was posted last week in Charlottesville, officials said.

Federal authorities began their investigation after local law enforcement received reports last February that Turner and an unidentified number of women were engaged in a commercial sex ring, according to court documents. That investigation later found that an email address associated with Turner was linked to a commercial sex website.

Nearly a year after the local reports, the FBI descended on Charlottesville Tuesday, surrounding the residence where Turner was staying in the 800 block of St. Charles Avenue in Charlottesville and blocking off the exits to the nearby highway bypass.

Roughly 15 agents were on the scene as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, accompanied by multiple vehicles, marked and unmarked, as well as a military-style truck. Most of the agents in the area were in tactical gear, with bulletproof vests, helmets and AR-15s.

One bystander told The Daily Progress he heard a loud bang inside the residence before agents entered the building through a side door around 2:30 p.m.

Agents were moving in and out of the house for several minutes before emerging around 2:43 p.m. carrying an infant wrapped in a jacket. An agent handed the child to a woman who was standing on the roadside, who then placed the child in an unmarked vehicle.

To date, authorities have not said who the infant belonged to or what it was doing inside the residence with Turner during the operation.

Turner was eventually arrested around 8 a.m. Wednesday after an hourslong standoff with law enforcement.

Both the Charlottesville and the Albemarle County police departments assisted the FBI with Turner’s arrest.

The arrest was announced by Christopher R. Kavanaugh, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, and Stanley M. Meador, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Smith is to prosecute the case.

It is not the first time Turner has faced such charges in court. In 2019, when he was listed as a Waynesboro resident, Turner was charged with operating a sex ring out of hotels along the Route 17 corridor in Stafford.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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