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Federal officials in Dallas say they've caught the head of a large-scale human trafficking ring.EXPAND
Federal officials in Dallas say they've caught the head of a large-scale human trafficking ring.
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Dallas-Based Man Charged With Running Large-Scale Human Trafficking Ring

Federal officials announced Wednesday that they've charged a Dallas-based man with crimes related to his allegedly running a large-scale sex trafficking ring. Tremont Blakemore may have trafficked hundreds of victims, according to the feds, keeping them under his control through violence, intimidation and frequent threats.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's investigations arm began looking into Blakemore in February 2019 a few months after he was indicted on promotion of prostitution charges in Dallas County, according to federal court documents. During the federal investigation into his alleged human trafficking organization, investigators talked to seven potential victims, according to court records.

According to those witnesses, Blakemore created what a federal agent describes as an "environment of paranoia." He frequently physically attacked the women he is accused of trafficking, according to witnesses, when they deviated from his plan for his organization and encouraged the women he trafficked to get a tattoo of his street name, "Macknificent."

Federal investigators say Blakemore required the women he trafficked to text him details of any trick they turned immediately after finishing it. When they didn't, or didn't do so as quickly as he would have liked, he often admonished them in group text messages.

“I’m going to make an example out of someone soon,” he said in one message. “I will not continue to tolerate disrespect that’s one of my biggest pet peeves.”

According to a news release announcing Blakemore's arrest: "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."

Blakemore frequently sent women around the United States — as far east as New York and Massachusetts and as far west as Hawaii — under the supervision of group leaders, according to his indictment. He expected the women to make at least $1,000 a day. If they didn't kick back that much to him, the threats would pick up. 

“We need to be bringing in 100k a week,” he said in another text. “Those don’t like working need day jobs.”

Blakemore is charged with sex trafficking through force, fraud and coercion. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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