ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – An Indiana man was sentenced Monday in federal court to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by means of force, threats, fraud and coercion and aiding and abetting.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Albuquerque special agents investigated the case with assistance from the Bernalillo (NM) County Sheriff’s Office.
Matthew “Stacks” Woods, 32, pleaded guilty on June 8.
Woods and his co-conspirators, Cornelius “Chip” Galloway and Marcus “Taylor Made” Taylor, were charged in a superseding indictment on Dec. 3, 2019, with seven counts of sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking. The charges included two counts of sex trafficking of minors.
In his plea agreement, Woods admitted to his part in the conspiracy to recruit, maintain, advertise and transport victims for the purpose of prostitution. The victims were expected to work when they were told, with no say over their hours, fees or the locations in which they were to perform sex acts. The victims were not allowed to keep any of the money paid for their services.
According to the plea, Galloway was the leader of the organization, Taylor transported the victims and Woods physically punished victims for non-compliance.
Upon his release from prison, Woods will be subject to 10 years of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender. Additionally, Woods must pay $5,000 under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
Galloway pleaded guilty on March 17, 2020, and was sentenced on Aug. 4, 2020, to 17 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release. Taylor pleaded guilty on May 21, 2020, and was sentenced on May 21, 2021, to eight years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release. Both are required to register as sex offenders.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jack E. Burkhead and Letitia C. Simms prosecuted the case.
HSI also partners with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center for Countering Human Trafficking and the Blue Campaign, to educate the public, law enforcement and other industry partners to recognize indicators of human trafficking and how to appropriately respond to possible cases. The Center works closely with all DHS components, including HSI El Paso, to develop general awareness trainings and educational resources to help reduce victimization in vulnerable populations. Human trafficking is a crime that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to hold men, women and children against their will for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.
In fiscal year 2021, HSI human trafficking arrests across the country increased to 2,360 from 1,746 in the previous year, with 728 victims identified and assisted. Tips can be submitted anonymously online at ice.gov/tipline or by phone at 866-DHS-2-ICE.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the DHS, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
For more information about HSI’s mission in El Paso visit us @HSIElPaso.