Heard: April 9, 2019.
cases were tried before Merita A. Hopkins, J.
Us for the defendant.
Caitlin Lyta Gemmill, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Green, C.J., Sullivan, & Ditkoff, JJ.
appeal from his convictions of trafficking of persons for
sexual servitude and deriving support from the earnings of a
prostitute, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the
evidence supporting the latter charge, because police placed
him under arrest before he received any portion of the money
paid by an undercover officer to a prostitute for sexual
services as part of a "sting" operation. On the
evidence in the case before us, we conclude that the
interruption of the transaction before the defendant gained
physical possession of his share of the proceeds does not bar
his conviction on a charge of deriving support from a
prostitute, as a share of the money was his, by prior
arrangement, as soon as it was paid by the officer to one of
the women trafficked by the defendant. Discerning in the
defendant's other claims no cause to disturb the
judgments, we affirm.
summarize the evidence the jury could have found, viewed in
the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. See
Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378 Mass. 671, 676-677
January 12, 2017, a police sergeant with the Woburn Police
Department began an undercover investigation into human
trafficking. The officer began the investigation by locating
an advertisement on Backpage.com, an "online
classified" services website frequently used to
advertise escort services. The officer's attention was
drawn to a particular advertisement because it involved a
telephone number that he recognized from another
investigation. The advertisement contained images of two
females and offered a "two girl special." The
advertisement gave two telephone numbers, one ending in 7659
and one ending in 6078, to contact the women to arrange a
meeting. The advertisement was labeled with a unique
Backpage.com "Post ID" of 37877418. The officer
then prepared an undercover operation to contact the women in
the advertisement. He called and texted both numbers but
received a response only from the 6078 number; the officer
then arranged a "date" with the person on the other
end of that telephone number. He arranged to meet two women for
the price of $500 at a hotel in Woburn that evening.
defendant drove two women, D.M. and V.G., to the designated
Woburn hotel to meet the officer. While en route, D.M.
communicated with the officer by cell phone to let him know
that she and V.G. were on their way to the hotel. The
defendant provided the women with condoms to bring on the
date. The defendant was nervous about the date and insisted
that D.M. ask the officer to send a "dick pic" to
her to verify that he was not a police officer. D.M. then text
messaged a photograph of herself and V.G. to the
defendant dropped the two women off at the designated hotel
in Woburn, where the officer was waiting. The officer gave
D.M. $500 in cash and discussed what he wanted them to do.
D.M. placed the $500 in her purse and sent a text message to
the defendant saying, "We're good," meaning
that she had the money. At that point, the officer signaled
to other officers waiting in adjoining hotel rooms, and they
began interviewing V.G. and D.M.
women gave the officers their cell phones and consented to
searches of those cell phones. Through their interviews with
V.G. and D.M., the officers were able to identify the other
woman in the January 12, 2017, Backpage.com advertisement as
O.S. All three women testified at trial pursuant to a grant
was present at the encounter at the Woburn hotel. She met the
defendant approximately two years prior to trial while
homeless in Boston; the defendant saw her, pulled his car
over, offered her "crack" cocaine, and gave her his
cell phone number. She knew the defendant by the nicknames
"Rick," "Tyreki," and "Cash."
The "next time" she saw the defendant, she began
working for him as a prostitute. In exchange for her
services, the defendant fed her cocaine and heroin addiction.
The defendant told her they "could make money,"
"took [her] to a store and bought [her] new clothes,
took [her] to a house and gave [her] a shower[, ] [a]nd put
an ad on Backpage." The defendant posted advertisements
for V.G.'s sexual services online on Backpage.com; she
witnessed him post those advertisements, which referred to
her as "Honey," the nickname he gave her, "on
multiple occasions." She also saw the defendant pay for
the advertisements on multiple occasions using "a
prepaid card." The defendant gave V.G. a cell phone on
which customers could contact her to arrange a date. The
defendant also arranged hotel rooms for V.G. to meet with
customers and drove her to those ...