A New Hampshire man has been convicted of running a prostitution operation following a trial during which witnesses described how he used their drug addictions to causing them to work as prostitutes for his profit.
A federal jury found 33-year-old Steven Tucker, of Manchester, guilty Friday of using interstate facilities to promote prostitution, maintaining a drug-involved premises and sex trafficking of a minor. He's scheduled to be sentenced July 2.
Prosecutors said Tucker would often front heroin to women and then arrange prostitution "dates" for them. The women were required to give him half of the proceeds and then buy heroin from him with the remainder. Prosecutors said he also withheld heroin from the women, causing them to have withdrawal symptoms, and then told them to prostitute to earn money to buy heroin.
Tucker's lawyer unsuccessfully moved for a mistrial.
Before the trial, Tucker had entered a guilty plea to the sex trafficking charge, but sought to withdraw it, citing ineffective counsel and other reasons. A judge rejected the plea, in which his lawyer described a difficult childhood, including a parent with substance abuse issues, and a criminal record going back to age 14.
The investigation of Tucker began in 2014, when the mother of one of the women called the Manchester Police Department.
"This case demonstrates the power of opioids to support criminal activity," said U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray. "This defendant took advantage of young women, using heroin and violence to induce them to commit acts of prostitution for his personal profit. His conduct was even more disturbing because he victimized a minor."