A 34-year-old Chicago man was sentenced to life in prison for trafficking at least 12 women and children into the commercial sex trade, by U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall on Monday, June 17.
Samuel Nichols was initially arrested in October 2014 and convicted of the sex trafficking charges in 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois told ABC 7.
His partner in crime and fellow rap group member was 26-year-old Charles Fears, who also pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and sex trafficking charges. He will be sentenced on July 16.
According to a federal complaint, the two “worked together to recruit females, including minors, to engage in the commercial sex business,” since 2012. They then would coerce them to live in motels where they worked, CBS reported.
“The depth and breadth of the defendant’s crimes are horrific,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Streicker, Michelle Petersen and Elizabeth Pozolo stated in the sentencing memorandum. “While these women and children had sex with dozens of strangers, the defendant took the money they earned and used it to fund his own extravagant lifestyle,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Prosecutors claim he sold several young women and at least four minors—including a girl as young as 13—into the sex industry in a “staggering” and “horrific” way, which was “was very close to torture.”
One woman testified that “on a busy day … she serviced 10 to 20 commercial sex customers and made as much as $1,000, all of which she gave to Nichols,” the complaint states.
Man with ‘#1 Pimp’ tattoo gets life sentence for ‘horrific’ trafficking operation https://t.co/jfGJ53ApEy via @SunTimes
— Will Lee (@MidnoirCowboy) June 19, 2019
Meanwhile, he flaunted his money on social media, wore expensive clothing, played video games, and invested his money in his rap project called Hit Squad.
Nichols and Fears physically supplied the women and children who worked for them with crack, cocaine, and alcohol to help them work more hours, prosecutors said.
They were also physically abused. In one incident, Nichols clobbered a woman so severely that she had to be hospitalized, according to prosecutors, reported CBS. In another instant, he shot a woman with a BB gun in the face, which led to her partial blindness.
Samuel Nichols also had the text “#1 Pimp” tattooed on his abdomen.
Nichols who defended himself in court treated the trial as his own “personal circus,” prosecutors said.
When a judge asked him the names of the victims he managed but didn’t have sex with, he said, “I’m not giving out names. It’s not gonna happen.”
The judge thereupon said, “I’m directing you to answer the question.”
Nichols replied, “And I told you no.”
Attorney James Graham wrote a memo in Nichols defense. He contended that Nichols was “very, very immature at times while representing himself,” and that “in part, Samuel Nichols’ juvenile actions were as a result of losing all hope in his situation.” Graham, therefore, proposed a minimum sentence of 15 years, according to AP News.
But prosecutors wouldn’t hear of it, arguing that Nichols showed no signs of remorse as he ridiculed the trial by further intimidating his victims, mocking them during cross-examinations and humiliating them with indecent questions.
At one point during the hearing, Nichols said he couldn’t think of any “one person in the world” he felt he respected.