COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A Columbus man has been charged with a conspiracy in which he allegedly forced drug addicts into prostitution through violence.
New charges as well as six additional defendants have been added to a case pending against Ricco Lamonte Maye, 39, accusing him of providing cocaine and fentanyl in exchange for criminal acts.
Court documents state Maye was the head of an organization engaged in drug trafficking, sex trafficking, and mail and wire fraud, as well as other criminal activities.
Maye allegedly used threats, violence, and manipulation of drug addicts to ensure they carried out his criminal plots.
Maye has been in federal custody since being indicted in November 2020. A second indictment was unsealed Monday.
Court documents state that since at least 2018, Maye’s organization allegedly distributed drugs to addicts in “street-level quantities,” alleging he regularly bought the drugs from sources in and out of the state, using addicts to transport the drugs back to Columbus for resale.
In exchange, the indictment alleges Maye would accept stolen items, gift cards, Social Security numbers, and other items in addition to money for payment.
The indictment also states Maye and other defendants filed for and received more than $30,000 in fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, with Maye allegedly keeping all or a portion of the others’ benefits.
Maye is accused of giving drugs to women for free and then later requiring them to earn drug money through prostitution. The indictment accuses him of providing the means for the women to engage in prostitution, including getting hotel rooms, having the women driven to hotels, and directing internet prostitution ads. Maye allegedly collected the money from the women and punished them through physical violence.
Maye is also accused of trying to impede the ongoing investigation into his crimes after he was indicted in November 2020, allegedly directing coconspirators to physically harm potential witnesses against him. For example, in November 2020, Maye allegedly directed someone to mix rat poison into fentanyl and give it to a co-defendant he believed could be cooperating with law enforcement.
The drug conspiracy charges carry a minimum of 10 years up to life in prison; the sex trafficking by force conspiracy charge is punishable by at least 15 years to life in prison; wired fraud charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison; witness tampering carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison; and obstructing law enforcement is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
In addition to Maye, the following people have also been charged in the case:
|Name||Also Known As||Age||City|
|Ricco L. Maye||Roscoe||39||Columbus|
|Airrika N. Anthony||33||Columbus|
|Nicole L. Groves||Nikki||32||Columbus|
|Kevin E. Pearson||58||Columbus|
|Jasmine R. Weather||Jazmine, Jazmyne, Jaz||23||Columbus|
|Jacob M. Capan||Jake||28||Pickerington|
|Danielle C. Ferguson||Dani||31||Columbus|
|Vincent N. Morrow||V||39||Columbus|
|Ashleigh A. Davis||Snowflake||28||Chillicothe|