'King of Bissonnet' sentenced of sex trafficking four women in Houston

Larry "Lavish" Lewis was sentenced for sex trafficking women through force and coercion, and taking them across state lines for prostitution, according to U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

The 48-year-old will have to serve 40 years in prison immediately followed by 10 years of supervised release. Lewis was convicted in October 2023 by a Houston jury after about three hours of deliberation, following a six-day trial.

"Today, the victims of Lewis’s abhorrent crimes have finally received the answer they have been waiting to hear for years," said Hamdani. "The message the court delivered in its sentence is clear: traffickers do not get to profit from the sale of victims’ bodies. They do not get to use drugs, beatings and threats to compel others to engage in prostitution. Traffickers, like Lewis, are not welcome in the Southern District of Texas, or anywhere outside of a federal penitentiary, and my office will see to that."

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Lewis, who operated in the Bissonnet Street area of Houston and various cities in Texas and Louisiana, used physical force to compel four women into commercial sex work. The jury also found that he coerced them to cross state lines for prostitution.

During the trial, victims testified that Lewis recruited them with false promises of financial stability and a better life. He confiscated the identification cards of two women and maintained strict control over their hotel room access, making them entirely dependent on him for basic necessities such as food and lodging. The women were required to hand over all their earnings from commercial sex work to Lewis, who dictated their work locations and hours.

According to the victims, there were severe consequences for breaking Lewis' rules. One victim described being kicked in the head and into a window for allegedly disrespecting him. In another incident, the same victim was whipped with an electrical cord after attempting to escape using Lewis' vehicle. Another victim detailed how Lewis broke her ribs and inflicted multiple beatings, leaving her body covered in bruises.

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The U.S. Attorney's Office states the jury was unconvinced by the defense claims the women sought out Lewis for his marketing expertise in the commercial sex industry.

Lewis has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined soon.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sebastian A. Edwards and Christine Lu are prosecuting the case.