An accused pimp from Baldwin named Michail McKen would allegedly separate his trafficked sex workers into two tiers and then force them to travel and work on Long Island, according to federal prosecutors.
There were the “high-end, experienced females, for whose services he could charge large sums of money, and lower-end, less competitive females, who often struggled with drug addiction, and for whose services McKen would charge less,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York wrote in a news release Wednesday announcing McKen’s arrest.
“McKen maintained leverage over those suffering with drug addiction by forcing them to engage in commercial sex acts in exchange for a rationed supply of narcotics that would prevent them from going through complete withdrawal,” the release said.
McKen — nicknamed “Kells” and “Cavalli” — and another alleged Long Island pimp, Lamont Young — “Paper” — were indicted separately this week for allegedly running national sex trafficking businesses, the release said.
McKen, 35, was arrested Wednesday morning in Phoenix, where he was to appear before a judge later in the day. Young, 41, of Hauppauge, Central Islip and Patchogue, was arrested Wednesday on the Island, arraigned later in the day and ordered detained.
Tracey Gaffey of the Long Island Federal Defenders office, who represents Young, declined to comment when reached Wednesday evening. No attorney for McKen could be contacted.
Both defendants are charged with sex trafficking by force and interstate prostitution. Additionally, Young is charged with sex trafficking of a minor. It's not clear how, if at all, the two cases are related.
“As alleged, Young and McKen each ran a national sex trafficking business, including on Long Island, forcing vulnerable females into commercial sex work for the defendants’ financial benefit,” the Eastern District U.S. attorney, Breon Peace, is quoted as saying in the release.
Between 2011 and at least 2021, Young would recruit his victims online, and he “sold them a dream of stability and financial well-being, and then once they accepted his invitation to work for him, he used violence, fraud and coercion to cause them to engage in commercial sex acts for his benefit.”
“At least one of his victims was a minor, who engaged in numerous sex acts on Long Island in 2016 and 2017 at Young’s direction,” the release said.
“Young … had numerous rules and inflicted violence on the victims when he perceived they disobeyed him. Young also had some of his victims brand themselves with tattoos, including the letter ‘P’ for his street name ‘Paper,’ which is a reference to cash.”
For McKen, the accusations cover 2019 to 2022. He’d allegedly send his victims not just to Long Island to work but across the country — including to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Kentucky, Alabama and Oregon.
When McKen was arrested, a loaded 9 mm handgun was found in the Mercedes-Benz he was driving.
Both men face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years and up to life, the release said.