Thursday, July 24, 2014
The following news release was issued on July 23, 2014, by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas:
Federal Jury Convicts San Antonio Man for Sex Trafficking of Minors
In San Antonio today, a federal jury convicted 22–year-old Malcolm Deandre Copeland for his role in prostituting two minor females last year announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI’s San Antonio Division and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
The jury convicted Copeland of two counts of sex trafficking of minors. Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Copeland and others were involved in a scheme to entice and encourage minors to engage in sexual acts for money. Specifically, jurors found that Copeland, in August and September of 2013, knowingly placed photos of two minors on an Internet website which advertised prostitution services under the pretext of “escorts.” Jurors also found that Copeland transported the minors to multiple locations in San Antonio as well as Corpus Christi to engage in commercial sex.
Copeland, who remains in federal custody, faces between ten years and life in federal prison when he is sentenced on December 4, 2014.
One of Copeland’s co-defendants, 20-year-old Amber Doak of San Antonio, pleaded guilty in March 2014 to one count of sex trafficking of minors and is currently awaiting sentencing scheduled for September 12, 2014. She faces between ten years and life in federal prison.
Two remaining co-defendants—38-year-old San Antonio resident Marcus Deshawn Wright and 41–year-old New Hampshire resident Raymond Valas—await jury selection and trial scheduled for August 18, 2014, and November 17, 2014, respectively, before U.S. Chief District Judge Fred Biery. Wright is charged with two counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of production of child pornography. Valas is charged with one count of sex trafficking of a minor.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) together with the San Antonio Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Bettina Richardson and Special Assistant United States Attorney Geoff Barr from the Texas Office of Attorney General are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.