Five Things You Need To Know:
- The defendants traveled from Texas to Oklahoma City with their sex trafficking victim.
- The male defendant has prior arrests for burglary, assault and drug possession outside of Oklahoma.
- The sex trafficking victim alleged that she was forced with physical violence to perform acts of prostitution and turn all the proceeds over to the defendants.
- Both defendants had their original human trafficking charges reduced to pandering by agreement of DA David Prater's office.
- The reduced charges meant neither sex trafficker was required to serve prison time and do not have to register as sex offenders.
4/13/2018 - OKC, OK -- Another day and another example of Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater's hug-a-thug approach to combating sex trafficking in our city. A Texas couple who pleaded guilty to the prostitution of a third party are given a slap on the wrist by the prosecution and returned to the streets.
As previously reported by JohnTV, Montwaun Labaron Meloncon, 32, and Victoria Marie Lynch, 27, were arrested in January of this year as the result of an undercover Internet prostitution sting. As a result, the duo was criminally charged in Oklahoma County with human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking, possession of marijuana and possession of ecstasy.
This past Tuesday, Meloncon and Lynch reached a plea agreement with DA Prater's office. In return for their guilty plea, Meloncon and Lynch's human trafficking charge was reduced to pandering. Their conspiracy to commit human trafficking was also reduced to conspiracy to commit pandering. The two minor drug charges remained in tact.
Lynch was senteced to 7-years suspended, a $200 fine, $200 VCA, $200 court appointed attorney fee, $150 mental health fee, $200 DA fee, $150 DNA fee and court costs.
Meloncon was sentenced to 12-years suspended, 6-months in jail with credit for time served, and 991 fees, forfeit any proceeds confiscated, $50 VCA, $200 court appointed attorney fee, $150 DA fee, $150 DNA fee, and court costs. Prosecutors also agreed to ignore Meloncon's past criminal record for sentencing purposes.
Both Lynch and Meloncon were ordered not to have any contact with their victim.
DA Prater's office's willingness to reduce the human trafficking charges to pandering is significant. A human trafficking conviction (where the victim is an adult) means the defendant face 5-years to life in prison. Since human trafficking is considered a violent crime, offenders must serve 85% of their sentence. Upon release, a human trafficking defendant must register as a sex offender. Human trafficking offenders also face a fine up to $100,000.
However, since ADA Dan Pond saw fit to agree to reduce the human trafficking to pandering, Meloncon and Lynch were not required to serve prison time, do not have to register as sex offenders and were accessed almost no fine at all.
But, hey, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater gets paid his fees and gets to mark this down as a "win" for his office - even if it comes at a real cost to public safety.
According to court records, on January 2, an undercover officer with the Oklahoma City Police department's Vice Unit replied to a Backpage.com ad for prostitution.
Below is an online ad that used the same phone number police responded to.
The undercover officer was directed to room #228 at the Extended Stay America on NW Expressway in NW OKC.
A female victim, JohnTV will only identify as F.W., greeted the undercover officer and agreed to perform specific sexual acts in exchange for $160. F.W. was then taken into custody.
F.W. admitted to investigators that she had been transported from Texas to OKC by Meloncon and Lynch and that Lynch had rented the room she was being forced to prostitute out of.
F.W. told investigators that she was forced to hand over all the money she made and that Lunch and Meloncon had threatened her if she refused. F.W. specifically stated that Meloncon had gone so far as to choke her when she questioned his demands.
Online records indicate that Meloncon has prior arrests in Texas for burglary, assault, possession of drugs, displaying a fictitious license plate, driving without a license and failure to maintain insurance.
Feel free to stroll/troll on over to DA Prater's re-election Facebook page and let him know how you feel about his 'hug-a-thug' approach to fighting human sex trafficking.
- JohnTV Article - 1/25/2018 - Man and Woman Arrested in OKC and Charged with Human Sex Trafficking.
- OSCN - Official criminal docket for Meloncon and Lynch.
- Facebook - Montwaun Meloncon's Facebook page.
- Facebook - Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater's re-election Facebook page.