HARRISBURG, PA. – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on September 3, 2020, Miguel Scott Arnold, age 33, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment by United States District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo, for his role as the leader of a human trafficking operation.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Arnold was convicted on June 21, 2019, after a four-day jury trial. He was convicted of (1) conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; (2) sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; (3) conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and marijuana; and (4) possession with intent to distribute heroin. Arnold was part of a significant sex trafficking operation that exploited over 20 victims, including juveniles. Arnold and his co-conspirators coerced the sex trafficking victims though fraud, physical assault, the deprivation of heroin to addicted victims, and threats of violence.
Four co-defendants in the case previously pleaded guilty to engaging in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, participated in a conspiracy that began in Harrisburg in the fall of 2015, and continued until it was dismantled in August 2016. Arnold and the co-conspirators rented hotel rooms and posted “escort” advertisements and photographs on www.backpage.com, a website that the FBI has since seized and which is no longer operational. Arnold and his co-conspirators would frequently solicit women to engage in prostitution by lying to them about the services that they would be expected to perform. Arnold and his co-conspirators would also target victims who were vulnerable by virtue of their age, financial insecurity, or drug addiction. At least three victims of the conspiracy were minors, one as young as 14 years old. Arnold and the others would take the majority of the money made during the course of the prostitution business, and distributed drugs to the women, including heroin.
In addition to Arnold, four others from Harrisburg were charged in the indictment:
- Tevin Bynoe, age 27, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion on September 20, 2018, and is awaiting sentencing;
- Terrence Hawkins, age 26, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion on September 20, 2018, and is awaiting sentencing;
- Joshua Guity-Nunez, age 31, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, and was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on July 10, 2020; and
- Emonie Murphy, age 23, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion on August 27, 2018, and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on September 3, 2020.
Arnold faced a mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison for his role as the leader of sex trafficking operation. Judge Rambo noted the seriousness of the criminal conduct as the compelling reason justifying the sentence.
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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
The FBI coordinated the investigation and was aided by law enforcement agencies in the Harrisburg area. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael A. Consiglio and Christian T. Haugsby prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.