CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A U.S. Army Reserve soldier accused of running a sex trafficking enterprise in North Carolina has been convicted by a federal jury.
The Department of Justice said in a news release Friday that 29-year-old Xaver Boston of Charlotte was found guilty of six counts of sex trafficking and one related charge.
The news release says Boston served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a military policeman.
Prosecutors say Boston's four victims were all struggling with opioid addictions, and he promised them drugs and a place to live. They say he then advertised them for prostitution, collected the proceeds for himself and used drugs to coerce them.
During the trial, which included testimony from three of the four victims, it was revealed that Boston ran the sex trafficking enterprise in the Charlotte area between 2012 and September 2017, except for a brief period when he was deployed overseas, according to DoJ.
Boston recruited the victims — young women and one teenager who were all struggling with drug addictions — by promising to provide them with a place to live and drugs to feed their addictions, according to DoJ.
After recruiting the victims, Boston controlled their supply of highly addictive drugs, such as heroin and hydrocodone pills, according to DoJ.
Without the drugs, the victims would experience excruciating physical and mental pain and withdrawal symptoms. In order to coerce the victims to prostitute, Boston withheld their drugs until after they completed commercial sex acts, and he withheld it as punishment if they failed to turn over all of the prostitution proceeds or otherwise violated his rules.
Evidence presented at trial also showed that Boston used violence to control and coerce the victims on occasion. For example, he choked one victim on multiple occasions, and he punched and slapped others as well. Boston also used a pistol to strike one victim in the face, breaking her nose.
“Xaver Boston promised his victims a better life, instead he robbed them of their civil rights and freedom to make a profit, now he will pay the price," said John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.
Boston is in custody and will be sentenced later. Each sex trafficking charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.