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United States v. Thipboonngam

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 16, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Peerachet Thipboonngam, a/k/a Arm, Defendant.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant Peerachet Thipboonngam's Motion for Review and to Amend Detention Order. (Doc. No. 540.) On January 8, 2018, the United States of America (the “Government”) filed a Response in Opposition. (Doc. No. 568.) On January 16, 2018, a detention hearing was held before the Court.

         The Second Superseding Indictment charges Defendant with Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594 (Count 1); Conspiracy to Commit Transportation to Engage in Prostitution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count 3); Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering, 18 U.S.C. § 1956 (Count 4); and Conspiracy to Use a Communication Facility to Promote Prostitution, 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count 5); Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business, 18 U.S.C. § 1960. (Doc. No. 314.)

         Defendant is alleged to be one of the house bosses, facilitators, and money launderers for the sex-trafficking organization. House bosses are alleged to have run the day-to-day operations, including advertising victims for commercial sex acts, procuring and maintaining the houses of prostitution, scheduling sex buyers, and ensuring that a portion of the cash was routed back to pay down the victims' bondage debts. (Indictment ¶ 5(b).) In exchange, house bosses retained a significant portion of the cash that the victims receive, typically 40%. (Id.) House bosses would also coordinate with traffickers and other house bosses to facilitate the victims' travel to other cities in the United States. Once victims were lured to the United States, they were forced to work long hours-often all day, every day-having sex with strangers to attempt to pay down their bondage debt. Victims typically did not have the ability to choose with whom they had sex, what sex transactions they would engage in, or when they would have sex. In this case, Defendant is also accused of holding victims' bondage debt.

         Defendant is also accused of being a facilitator for the sex-trafficking organization. Facilitators assist the organization with various needs, including renting houses of prostitution and facilitating the transportation of the trafficking victims. Here, Defendant is accused of transporting the victims.

         Additionally, Defendant is accused of being a money launderer for the sex-trafficking organization. Money launderers were essential to the organization. The money launderers made their bank accounts available for deposits and then would coordinate withdrawals and transfers. According to the Government, Defendant has laundered almost $2 million.

         On May 25, 2017, the Honorable Suzanne H. Segal in the District Court for the Central District of California held a detention hearing pursuant to the Government's motion to detain Defendant pending trial. The Magistrate Judge ordered Defendant detained. Defendant now seeks de novo review in this Court.

         Pursuant to Rule 46(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and 18 U.S.C. § 3142, the Court considers the following factors in assessing the continued detention of Defendant:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense involves . . . a minor victim;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, including-
(A) the person's character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, financial resources, length of residence in the community, community ties, past conduct, history relating to drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, and record concerning appearance at court proceedings; and
(B) whether, at the time of the current offense or arrest, the person was on probation . . . .
(4) the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by the ...

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