BEAUMONT - UPDATE:
This is the first indictment of its kind in Jefferson County
“I can’t say I have previous experience,” said Kim Pipkin, Assistant District Attorney. “This is our first human trafficking case in Jefferson County that we have indicted. But it’s kind of a hot button issue that has been addressed a lot in trainings that I’ve been to recently.”
Pipkin, who is in charge of the case, says that the office will handle this case with the same care as they do others
“If we can’t reach a resolution that I think is justice for what was done, then we’ll go to trial,” said Pipkin.
According to the indictment, Matlock befriended the high school age girls and women, who
ranged in age from 15 to mid-20’s, on social media. The two main pages being Facebook and Snapchat.
Authorities then say he held them against their will, and forced them to prostitute out of area motels including the Regency Inn& Suites on College Street, and the Motel 6 off of Interstate-10. Adds were then posted to backpages.com.
Beaumont police officer Chris Price says unfortunately, this happens often.
“They’ll friend them through Facebook, Facebook messenger, maybe a friend of a friend through snapchat,” said Price. “They’re looking for young girls that probably have problems. Maybe not a great home life or something like that. They want to be social accepted. And they’ll work on that. They’ll try to be their friend, and then it progresses form there to hey why don’t you try this, to now you’re going to work for me and this is what you’re going to do.”
Pipkin is urging women and girls, to learn from this disturbing case, and to be extremely cautious when befriending people on social media
“And so when you’re going to meet somebody, that you’ve met through social media, a dating website, whatever it may be, you need to take precautions,” said Pipkin. “You need to meet them in public places. Your family, your friends need to know where you’re going, what your plans are. That way if you don’t come back, if something were to happen to you, somebody knows to be looking for you.”
A Silsbee man has been indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on human trafficking charges.
Johnny Ray Matlock, 23, of Silsbee, has been charged with luring several local women, some underage, into prostitution according to a release from the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.
Matlock, who was officially charged with "continuous trafficking of persons," used social media and apps to lure the women the release said.
The charge is a first degree felony and carries a penalty range of 25-99 years or life in prison.
After gaining their trust Matlock would lure the women to Beaumont motels where they were held against their will and forced into prostitution according to the release.
He would then advertise the women on BackPage.com to promote his "business" the release said.
The indictment was the result of a joint investigation involving the Beaumont Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
Matlock is currently in the Jefferson County Jail.
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