YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An accused pimp charged with human trafficking and enslavement in a New Jersey-based prostitution ring was arrested by federal agents following an investigation that also found proof that his girlfriend swiped $500,000 worth of diamonds from a john at Manhattan’s Cosmopolitan Hotel.
Percival R. Williams — also known as Tayvann Dunston — was tracked down and picked up Tuesday night by U.S. Marshals in Dallas as a result of a probe by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and Edison police, state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said this afternoon.
The girlfriend, 23-year-old Chanell “Asha” Vaughn, who stole the uncut diamonds last April “to supplement [Williams’] sex-trade income,” was arrested today at Williams’ Edison home, he added.
Williams, 35, “used violence and threats of violence to enslave women in a high-priced prostitution ring,” after pretending to be a music producer while tooling around in high-performance Maseratis and a Porsche, Chiesa said.
Using the street names “Knowledge” and “Don Cholo,” Williams found young women in various locations, including the Cleveland area, the attorney general said.
He then “brought them to New Jersey, either against their will or by enticing them with promises of a relationship or better life, in order to enslave them in prostitution,” he said.
Williams followed “a familiar pattern for sex-related human trafficking, in which vulnerable victims are degraded, threatened and isolated from any support in their lives,” he added.
Chiesa said Williams kept the women at his house or in nearby hotels and solicited clients by placing “sexually suggestive ads” on Backpage.com.
Williams also took or sent the women to various hotels in Manhattan, Las Vegas and Atlantic City to solicit clients, while demanding that they charge $500 to $1,000 a hour “and turn all proceeds over to him,” Chiesa said.
They complied because “they believed Williams would hurt them or their families if they didn’t,” he said.
Williams is charged with first-degree human trafficking, as well as promoting prostitution, receiving stolen property and conspiracy. He is being held without bail in Texas pending extradition to New Jersey.
Vaughn was being held on $50,000 bail in the Middlesex County Jail, charged with theft and conspiracy.
“Human trafficking is a crime that takes place in the shadows, but we are working hard to expose it,” said Elie Honig, who was officially named DCJ director yesterday.
She urged anyone possibly victimized by Williams “to come forward confidentially and assist us in our ongoing investigation.”
The Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free, confidential tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report criminal activity. The public can also log on to the Division’s website at www.njdcj.org to report information confidentially.
The investigation was conducted and coordinated for the Division of Criminal Justice by Deputy Attorney General Russell Curley, Detective Naike Kudlick, Detective Eric Barnes, Detective Sgt. Keith Stopko, Detective Noelle Holl, Detective Sgt. Lisa Shea, Detective Terry Shaw and Detective Shawn Gorlin. They worked cooperatively with members of the Edison Police Department Special Operations Group, including Sgt. Michael Mintchwarner, Sgt. Frank Todd, Detective Michael Carullo, Detective Brian Maurath and Detective Jeff Abrams.
The New Jersey State Police TEAMS Unit provided valuable assistance in the execution of warrants, Chiesa said.
He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service “for their tireless efforts to successfully apprehend Williams.”
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