April 14, 2021 - SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lucious James Roy, 34, of Stockton, was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 17 years and seven months in prison for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a child, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, between September 2018 and November 2018, Roy recruited a 17‑year-old and a 16-year-old to engage in prostitution. Roy recruited the 17-year-old victim outside of a high school, and he used a social media platform to recruit the 16-year-old victim. Roy then groomed the victims to perform sex acts in exchange for money that he kept. He also used threats of violence to try to control them.
According to court documents, Roy and his co-conspirator, Dawniel Santangelo, 43, of Stockton, created online prostitution advertisements for the victims and drove them to motels across Northern California, including Stockton, Salinas, Oakland, and Ripon, where they had sex with strangers in exchange for money.
On May 10, 2019, Roy and Santangelo were arrested in Jackson County, Oregon, for state prostitution and sex trafficking offenses after police found them in a hotel room with a 15-year-old runaway from Modesto. At that time, the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office had an open investigation into the defendants for sex trafficking the two other minors. Both the Jackson County District Attorney and the San Joaquin District Attorney dismissed their cases in favor of federal prosecution.
“Today’s sentence is necessary due to the defendant’s long criminal history and to protect the public from future crimes,” Acting U.S. Attorney Talbert said. “He used intimidation and threats to keep his victims compliant and afraid to seek help. His willingness and ability to recruit children and coerce them to engage in prostitution for his financial benefit puts the public in danger.”
“No person, let alone a minor, should be treated as a commodity to be transported and sold again and again,” stated Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office. “Every day, the FBI works collaboratively with its law enforcement partners to ensure traffickers face justice and victims can break free from a cycle of abuse and exploitation.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Stockton Police Department, San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office, Medford (Oregon) Police Department, and Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cameron L. Desmond and Brian A. Fogerty are prosecuting the case.
Charges are pending against Santangelo. She is scheduled for trial on July 27. If convicted, she faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.