09/11/2019 | Press release | Archived content
A Dallas man has been charged with operating a large-scale human trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Tremont Blakemore, 40, was charged by criminal complaint with sex trafficking through force, fraud and coercion and made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Rutherford Wednesday afternoon.
According to victim statements detailed in the complaint, Mr. Blakemore -- who goes by the street name 'Macknificent' -- may have trafficked hundreds of women across the United States between 2011 and 2018.
Mr. Blakemore allegedly cultivated an 'environment of paranoia,' demanding near constant updates from the victims he forced into commercial sex and doling out severe physical punishment from those he believed were 'keeping secrets,' according to the criminal complaint.
Victims said they were required to alert Mr. Blakemore of each illicit encounter as it happened or face grotesque abuse.
'I'm going to make an example out of someone soon,' he wrote in a group text message to victims. 'I will not continue to tolerate disrespect that's one of my biggest pet peeves.'
Mr. Blakemore allegedly set a quota of commercial sex proceeds - generally about $1,000 or more per day - and required victims turn all earnings over to him, either in bulk cash or via money transfers. He set the rates for various commercial sex acts, and occasionally lowered victims' rates to flood out competition.
'We need to be bringing in 100k a week,' he told victims in another text. 'Those don't like working need day jobs.'
To enforce the rules, Mr. Blakemore allegedly slapped, punched, choked, and kicked his victims, and occasionally burned them with cigarettes.
After one victim expressed a desire to leave his organization and have a family, Mr. Blakemore allegedly body-slammed her into an air conditioning unit, leaving her bruised, bloodied, and with severe back injuries. The victim told agents she believed Mr. Blakemore wanted to 'make an example' in front of the other victims so they'd be afraid to talk about a life outside his control.
Mr. Blakemore allegedly appointed certain victims 'group leaders' tasked with managing the trafficking organization's business, including posting commercial sex advertisements online and booking women's cross-country travel to engage in commercial sex as far away as New York and Hawaii.
In order to recruit new victims, Mr. Blakemore flouted his lavish lifestyle on social media, giving the illusion that his victims were also living in luxury.
He even encouraged women to tattoo his street name on their bodies to signal their loyalty to him.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence, and like all defendants, Mr. Blakemore is innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
Homeland Security Investigations, North Texas Trafficking Task Force, with the assistance of the Oakridge Police Department, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Dallas Police Department conducted the investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by AUSA Melanie Smith, AUSA Nicole Dana, and AUSA Cara Foos Pierce.