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Former Baltimore police officer indicted on charges of running prostitution service

ProstitutionJustice SystemTechnology IndustryRentalsBaltimore Police Department

A former Baltimore police officer already facing state charges for prostituting his wife was indicted on a federal prostitution charge that alleged he oversaw a call-girl business with more than 300 customers.

In an indictment unsealed Friday, Lamin Manneh, 31, was charged with traveling across state lines and using the telephone and Internet to operate a prostitution business. He was arrested in May after officers from a human-trafficking task force found him outside a hotel room where his 19-year-old wife had agreed to have sex for cash with an undercover state police officer. Baltimore police fired him shortly after his arrest, police spokesman Sgt. Eric Kowalczyk said.

According to the indictment, Manneh's wife had entered into a "contract of slavery" with Manneh who she referred to as her "master." Between February and May 9, prosecutors say, Manneh ran a call-girl business where his wife and another 19-year-old woman worked as prostitutes. Both women were not identified in the indictment, which referred to them by their initials.

The indictment alleges that Manneh posted more than 50 prostitution advertisements on Internet websites such as backpage.com, rented an apartment and hotel rooms in and around Baltimore where he facilitated sex and drove both women to other customers. Prosecutors said he provided both women with Samsung cell phones and introduced them to voice-over-the-Internet phone services to communicate with prospective clients.

Court records allege that Manneh waited outside the rendezvous locations with his police-issued firearm. The indictment said, if needed, Manneh would forcibly step in if a client became too aggressive or did not comply with what they had agreed to.

Prosecutors said he collected money his wife earned in the interactions while he took a cut from the other woman. He bought both women synthetic marijuana and encouraged them to smoke it, the indictment said.

Manneh faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release.

Manneh, an officer who was assigned to Baltimore Police Department's Eastern District, already faces the state charges of human trafficking and prostitution. Manneh's attorney, Shaun F. Owens, could not be immediately reached Friday afternoon.

Baltimore Sun staff writer Justin Fenton contributed to this report.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/justingeorge

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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