Federal prosecutors announced Friday that four Anchorage residents have been charged with operating a sex-trafficking ring that used force and coercion to maintain its stable of at least three underage girls and 17 adult women.
The 41-count indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury Thursday, said the four defendants solicited customers with online classified advertising with sexually charged photos on Craigslist and their own Web site.
At a news conference Friday, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said three of the defendants, all men, were in custody: Sabil Mumin Mujahid, 52; Sidney Lamar Greene, 30; and Rand Hooks, 50. Anchorage police and the FBI were looking for the fourth, Keyana "Koko" Marshall, a 21-year-old woman.
Loeffler said as many as 50 women may have worked as prostitutes for the ring, based on photographs and other seized evidence, but only women identified in court papers as Jane Does 1-17 and Juveniles A, B and C have been positively identified.
Loeffler said the "harsh and difficult message" for the community of Anchorage was that the operation charged in the indictment isn't unique.
"This goes on every day -- vulnerable, underage people without a support system," she said. "Women are taken in by these people, they are foisted using various methods and forced into this business."
The indictment describes Mujahid as the leader of the operation and Greene as his business associate. They conducted at least part of their operation through a Las Vegas corporation registered in Alaska, Seldom Seen Capital Holdings and Investment Corp. Both men were officers of the corporation, which is now dissolved, according to state records.
Mujahid and Greene were already in jail prior to the indictment.
Mujahid was convicted on a federal charge in June of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and has been awaiting sentencing. He had prior felony convictions in Hawaii in 1982 for attempted murder; in Alaska in 1995 for the federal charge of felon in possession of a firearm; and on state charges in Alaska in 2004 for possessing illegal drugs.
Greene was initially charged and arrested in May on a two-count federal indictment accusing him of possessing and producing child pornography. The 41-count indictment handed up Thursday superseded the original two-count indictment against Greene.
The new indictment described Hooks as Mujahid's landlord. Hooks knew full well what Mujahid was up to, the indictment said: Many of the hookers in Mujahid's ring would turn tricks in the apartment. Hooks charged a premium rent because of their activity and sometimes took payment in the sexual services of Mujahid's women, the indictment charged.
The indictment indicates that the FBI was intercepting Mujahid's telephone calls for at least five months. In one conversation, Hooks was overheard asking Mujahid "if there were any new girls with whom he could have sex," the indictment charged.
Marshall was described in the indictment as a prostitute who also kept many of the women in line and instructed them on how to use Craigslist to post ads and their pictures.
Mujahid and Greene were also charged with possession of child pornography, tax fraud and identity theft. The indictment says the pair used the names and Social Security numbers of the women and their children to claim improper refunds and tax credits. In one intercepted call, Mujahid is overheard bragging about the money he made in the tax scam, proving there was more to life, in his words, than "ho-in'."
"This will pay for a trailer," he said.
The indictment indicated Mujahid and Greene got at least some of the women for their escort services from Alaska Native villages. In an intercepted call in October 2008, Greene told Mujahid he was going to prowl around the Alaska Federation of Natives convention "to get some girls." Mujahid advised him to post their pictures in sharp profiles so their relatives wouldn't recognize them, according to the indictment.
Mujahid, whose escort service was called Seductions, "threatened, physically assaulted, and raped the underage girls and adult women if they disobeyed him or attempted to leave him," the indictment charged. "The assaults and rapes included Mujahid striking them with his open hand and closed fist, threatening to strike or beat them, threatening to kill them, their families and their unborn children, threatening to set them or their families on fire, threatening to disembowel them and remove their unborn babies from their womb, sexually assaulting them, and threatening gang rapes."
He also used marriage as a control tool. The indictment said Mujahid was simultaneously married to at least four women, and he told the fourth to stop complaining last year when a fifth was saying she too was his wife. An FBI agent, listening to an intercepted call placed Oct. 25, 2008, overheard Mujahid tell wife number four:
"I marry bitches. Bigamy is part of my game. You understand that?"
Greene's Web site, established in 2006, was AkEscortsNorthernX-Posure.com. It's no longer active.
Find Richard Mauer online at adn.com/contact/rmauer or call 257-4345.
By RICHARD MAUER