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Sex trafficker arrested in Medford gets 17 years

A California man arrested in Medford will serve 17-1/2 years for recruiting teens and coercing them into commercial sex acts.

Lucious James Roy Jr., 34, of Stockton, California, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento for conspiring to engage in sex trafficking of a child in a case that involved a 2019 arrest in Southern Oregon.

Roy and his alleged co-conspirator, Dawniel Lea Santangelo, 43, also of Stockton, were arrested May 10, 2019, at a Motel 6 in Medford on charges of trafficking in persons. They were accused of compelling a 15-year-old girl into prostitution, according to U.S. Court Records, and a news release issued by the Eastern California U.S. Attorney's Office.

The investigation began when the teen runaway’s mother in Modesto, California, got word that her daughter was in Medford and called police, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said shortly after the arrest. He described the situation as “every parent’s worst nightmare.”

At the time of Roy and Santangelo’s arrest in Oregon, the pair were already being investigated by the District Attorney’s office in San Joaquin, California, for sex trafficking of two other underage victims, according to a sentencing brief filed March 31 in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

DA’s offices in Jackson County and San Joaquin later dropped their state cases so that Roy and Santangelo could be prosecuted at the federal level.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Desmond, who prosecuted the federal case in Sacramento, stated that Roy used a mix of flattery and threats to keep the underage victims under his control.

“He forced them to show loyalty by changing their social media screen names to ’ATL’ or ’Always Team Luwey,’” Desmond’s sentencing brief states. “He referred to himself as ’King Luwey’ and said that he was ’in charge.’”

Roy recruited victims near a Northern California high school using promises of “money and the illusion of freedom.” When one of the victims told Roy that she was underage, Roy offered to get her a fake ID.

Federal prosecutors sought a 235-month prison sentence for Roy. Chief District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced Roy to 211 months in prison, a $100 fine and 240 months of supervised release, records show. His restitution amount will be determined at a future hearing.

Santangelo still faces a federal charge of sex trafficking of a child in the case, according to court records. A trial is scheduled for July 27. If convicted of the charge, she faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence. Maximum penalties for the crime include life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.