An Inland Empire pimp who put a 16-year-old girl to work as a prostitute, marking her as his property with a tattoo, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in federal prison.
Lawrence Gunn Jr., 33, pleaded guilty in May to one count of sex trafficking. In exchange for his admission, the U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped two related trafficking charges against him, as well as a conspiracy allegation.
Santa Ana-based U.S. District Judge David Carter imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.
Gunn — also known as “Classified” — branded his prostitutes with tattoos bearing his nickname to mark his “stable” of sex workers, prosecutors alleged in documents.
The investigation into Gunn began in February 2016 when the 16-year-old, whose identity was not disclosed, was located at a Moreno Valley motel, where authorities discovered five victims working for the defendant. Three of the sex workers were minors, according to court documents.
Several of them had tattoos that read “Classified,” including the 16-year-old, who had the tattoo over her right eye, court papers stated.
Prosecutors said the victims had placed advertisements for commercial sex acts via Backpage.com and that, at one time, Gunn had about a dozen women and girls working for him.
One of the victims had posted hundreds of ads for sex services in states as far away as Alaska and Minnesota, according to prosecutors.
Several victims told authorities that Gunn took all of the money they collected from customers, with one victim using a wire transfer service to send more than $17,000 to Gunn over the course of three months.
The defendant was indicted by a grand jury on Dec. 16, 2016.
The U.S. Probation Office had recommended a sentence of 30 years to life for Gunn, but prosecutors felt that was excessive, given his willingness to admit culpability, according to a sentencing memorandum.
–City News Service