Tonya Gum child sex trafficking case comes to an end; 6 of 7 defendants sent to prison

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2/7/2018 - OKC, OK -- This week marked the end of the federal prosecution of those involved in a child sex trafficking ring run by an Oklahoma City woman. Six of seven criminal defendants have been sentenced to prison.

JohnTV first reported on the local child sex trafficking ring run by 42-year-old Tonya Gay Gum back in July of 2015.

According to court records, Gum (who used the alias "Carmen") ran a sophisticated prostitution enterprise that sold both adults and children for sex with strangers for cash. Gum's operation involved over 20 ads in the Oklahoma City Yellow Pages phone book that operated under names like; A Midnight Fantasy, Baywatch Beauties, and Gals Gone Wild.

Gum reportedly utilized third party pimps who would provide her clients with underage girls. Some as young as 14-years-old.

JohnTV's own Brian Bates was interviewed by local news media when the details of Gum' arrest were made public.

Gum's sex trafficking and prostitution ring was exposed after two sex traffickers she worked with were busted in a separate sting conducted by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Human Trafficking Unit and members of the Oklahoma City Police Department's Vice Unit. That sting occurred at a motel near NW 122nd and N. I-35. During the sting, law enforcement was able to rescue two child sex trafficking victims ages 14 and 15. An adult sex trafficking victim was also identified - but later criminally prosecuted and convicted for misleading investigators about her pimps.

The two pimps then worked a deal with prosecutors to reduce their prison time if they provided information that would lead to the arrest of Gum and several of her clients who had purchased sex from the two child sex trafficking victims that they had recruited.

Federal prosecutors redacted the names of the two child sex trafficking snitch pimps from court records. However, JohnTV was able to positively identify them and released their names as; felon and registered sex offender Maurice Morlee Johnson, 37, and convicted rapist (and former Pottawatomie County jail detention officer) Hiram Mitchell III (see DOC records below).

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In response to JohnTV's publishing of Johnson and Mitchell's identities, federal prosecutors sought and were granted a protective order banning those involved in the case from releasing the names (JohnTV had already released) to the public or news media. JohnTV wrote about and published  the protective order back in July of 2015.

Investigators seized cell phones that included text messages between Johnson and Mitchell and Gum. On those same phones, investigators also found addresses and names of 'Johns' where Gum had Johnson and Mitchell had previously taken CI#3 and/or the 14 and 15-year-old for commercial sex.

The young victims were able to positively identify four 'Johns' and described the sexual encounters they had with each one in Oct. of 2014. Those 'Johns' were identified as; Trung N. Duong, William 'Marty' Baker, Russell D. Ehrens, 55, and Curtis Anthony, 50.

JohnTV's own Video Vigilante Brian Bates identified Gum's personal residence and put her neighbors on notice of her criminal activities and the danger she posed to children in the area.

After getting Gum evicted from her large rent house, Bates followed her again to her new rent house, located less than 1,000' from an elementary school. Once again, Bates put Gum's new neighbors on notice.

The four criminal defendant "Johns" were federally indicted on June 16, 2015.

Duong has a prior conviction with prison time for a high profile and controversial 2004 manslaughter. In that case Duong, who owned a convenience store often targeted by criminals, shot and killed a man who stole several cartons of cigarettes and fled the store. In this case, Duong had engaged in commercial sex on multiple occasions with both the child and adult sex trafficking victims in his home in the 3300 block of N. Walker Ave. in Oklahoma City.

Baker, a disabled veteran with no prior criminal history, reportedly contacted Gum and she dispatched one or both of the child sex trafficking victims to Baker's residence in the 4000 block of NW 33rd Street in Oklahoma City.

Ehrens, who is from New York and Florida but was in OKC for extended business, is the only defendant not charged with conspiracy. Ehrens apparently did not go through Gum and instead ordered his young prostituted women from Johnson and Mitchell directly. Ehrens had the adult and at least one of the child sex trafficking victims come to his residence at the Shores at K-Rock luxury apartment complex in the 14100 block of N. Rockwell Ave in Oklahoma City. Ehrens is best known as a named character in the infamous book (later made into a movie) 'Wolf of Wall Street' by Jordan Belfort. 

Anthony, at the time owned a commercial building in Edmond, near East 2nd and I-35. It is at that commercial property that Anthony had the two young girls brought to him and he engaged in commercial sex with at least one of them after ordering both to take off their clothes.

In the original indictment, the federal government expressed their desire to seize the personal properties/residences belonging to Duong, Baker, and Anthony upon their convictions.

All seven criminal defendants faced up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hiram Mitchell was arrest in late 2014, indicted on Dec. 3, 2014 and pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2015. Mitchell was sentenced to only 10-years in prison for his part in the child sex trafficking ring. Mitchell faced up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Maurice Morlee Johnson was arrested in late 2014, indicted Dec. 3, 2014 and pleaded guilty on Jan. 30, 2015. Johnson was sentenced to 20-years in prison for child sex trafficking. Upon release, Johnson will be required to serve an additional five-years of supervised probation.

Tonya Gay Gum was indicted on Jun. 16, 2015 and pleaded guilty on Nov. 19, 2015. Gum later tried unsuccessfully to rescind her guilty plea. On Aug. 16, 2017 Gum was sentenced to a mere slap on the wrist of four-years in prison for selling child and adult sex trafficking victims. Upon release from prison, Gum will have to serve three-years of supervised probation. At the time of Gum's guilty plea, she listed her employer as El Chico restaurant.

JohnTV's own Video Vigilante confronted Gum as she left the federal courthouse after being formally sentenced to prison.

Russell D. Ehrens was indicted on Jun. 16, 2015. Ehrens was the first, and only one of two defendants, to go to jury trial. Ehrens was found not guilty at trial despite the fact that CI#3 had taken photos of the inside of Ehrens apartment while Ehrens was allegedly having sex with at least one of the child sex trafficking victims. Prosecutors said the case was lost because of a jury instruction that required knowledge or reckless disregard of the victim’s age. Since the defense claimed the child victim was advertised online as of legal age and Ehren only met her briefly in a dimly lit apartment, he couldn't have known she was under 16 years of age.

In response to the loss, federal prosecutors went to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. On Feb. 14, 2017 the court ruled that  and successfully argued that “reasonable opportunity to observe” the victim is all that is required to support a conviction under the federal statute prohibiting child sex trafficking - and not reckless disregard.

Curtis Anthony was indicted on Jun. 16, 2015. Anthony was the second and last criminal defendant to choose to go to jury trial. On Jun. 19, 2017 he was found guilty under the new federal guidelines. On Oct. 24, 2017 Anthony was sentenced to 10-years in prison. Upon release, Anthony is to serve an additional five-years of supervised probation.

Trung N. Duong was indicted on Jun. 16, 2015. Duong pleaded guilty on May 9, 2017 and was sentenced to two-years in federal prison. 

William 'Marty' Baker sentenced was indicted on Jun. 16, 2015. Baker was sentenced on Feb. 5, 2018 to two years in prison. 

As you can see, each of the criminal defendants received far less than the maximum sentence allowed under the law.

If upon release from prison, Gum decides to return to the Oklahoma City area, JohnTV will be there to report on her whereabouts.

JohnTV will continue to follow this case.