Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 11, 2016
Visalia Man Sentenced to over 12 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking of a Minor
FRESNO, Calif. — Tyrell Richmond, 33, of Visalia, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill to 12 years and seven months in prison for sex trafficking a minor, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on June 21, 2014, FBI’s Fresno Child Exploitation Task Force and members of the Fresno Police Department’s Vice Unit conducted undercover operations targeting prostitution rings that appeared to utilize underage victims. During the investigation, they detained three 16-year-old girls, all of whom were runaways, at a motel in Fresno. Further investigation revealed that Richmond had prostituted the girls for about one week, first in Visalia and then in Fresno. Richmond collected all of the money received by the girls, and did not permit them to leave their motel rooms, other than to get ice. Richmond pleaded guilty on December 14, 2015.
At the sentencing hearing, one of the victims delivered powerful testimony about the trauma she endured at the hands of Richmond. In imposing the sentence, Judge O’Neill described Richmond’s conduct as “horrid” and noted the serious impact it had on the victims in this case.
“Today’s sentencing highlights the commitment of the FBI, the Fresno Police Department, and the Visalia Police Department to combating the commercial sexual exploitation of minors in the region and the success of Operation Cross Country,” said Supervisory Special Agent Robert Guyton of the FBI Sacramento field office Fresno resident agency’s violent crime squad. “Richmond’s sentence offers justice for his victims and serves as a warning to others who may attempt to exploit minors.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Visalia Police Department, and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Vincenza Rabenn prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.