A federal jury in Lafayette has found a Texas man guilty of child sex trafficking.
Kevondric Fezia, 26, was convicted by the jury following a trial. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Luke Walker and John W. Nickel.
Fezia was arrested in March 2021 along with a co-defendant, Calista Winfrey, 23, of Orange. They were both accused of taking a 14-year-old girl to Beaumont from Lake Charles, and trying to convince her to be a prostitute. To see our story about their arrests, click here.
A federal grand jury indicted them in April 2021, charging Fezia and Winfrey both with one count of sex trafficking, and Fezia with one count of attempting to entice a minor to engage in prostitution.
Winfrey entered a guilty plea prior to the trial, which began this week. Fezia was found guilty on both counts.
Testimony at the trial alleged that beginning in November 2020, Fezia was recruiting minor females to engage in prostitution and began communicating with a 14-year-old female in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Fezia was well aware when he began communicating with her that she was a minor, but he still pursued her and tried to convince her that she would make a lot of money by engaging in prostitution for him. The minor victim made a decision to run away with Fezia to Texas and on February 13, 2021, he drove his Mercedes Benz and picked up the minor victim and took her to Texas. Winfrey and Fezia both were well aware that the victim was only 14 years old, but they continued to try and convince her to engage in prostitution.
Both defendants traveled with the minor victim to a hotel in Beaumont, Texas and introduced her to another prostitute that was working for Fezia who was 16 years old.
Winfrey engaged in multiple acts of prostitution in the presence of the minor victim at the hotel, continually trying to convince the minor victim that she should also engage in prostitution. Fezia took photographs of both minor girls and the other prostitutes he was employing and posted them on his Instagram account as an advertisement, along with a visible geo tag showing those who saw the advertisement where to go to engage in sexual acts with the girls.
When the minor victim’s grandmother realized that she had run away from home, she began looking at the child’s social media accounts and found the communications between her granddaughter and Fezia. She then contacted law enforcement. Law enforcement officers were able to identify Fezia and found him at a Houston apartment, along with other prostitutes and the minor victim. He attempted to hide her in the closet, but she and the 16-year-old prostitute were found.
Fezia and Winfrey each face a maximum sentence of life in prison, not less than 5 years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sentencing for Fezia and Winfrey has been scheduled for June 23, 2022.
The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Lake Charles Police Department.