A federal judge sentenced a Memphis man to life in prison for coercing two teenagers into working as prostitutes in a sex trafficking operation that brought the girls to the New Orleans area.
In February, a federal jury convicted Timothy Jones, also known as "King Lucci," on all eight counts he was charged with, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking two minor females through the use of force, fraud and coercion.
Prosecutors at trial said Jones met a 17-year-old in Baton Rouge in December of 2013, and convinced her to work for him as a prostitute with promises of a life of luxury and travel.
Instead, the court record says the girl was beaten for not earning enough money and forced to have sex with him. The teenager managed to escape after three weeks.
The case also detailed how Jones and a co-conspirator recruited a 16-year-old girl in Memphis in January of 2014.
Prosecutors say Jones took her first to Louisville, Kentucky to work as a prostitute and later to New Orleans. A U.S. Marshals Task Force recovered her and arrested Jones a month later at a hotel in downtown New Orleans.
In a news release, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite called sex trafficking of minors "one of the most reprehensible criminal offenses imaginable."
"A life sentence for this defendant sends the strongest message possible: our community will not tolerate this heinous conduct," said Polite.
In addition to the life sentence, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman sentenced Jones to pay $13,688 in restitution.
Polite says the case was part of the nationwide Project Safe Childhood initiative launched in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation.