A Baltimore man was charged with human trafficking and drug charges in Anne Arundel County has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Valdez Lawrence, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in human trafficking, five counts of human trafficking and one count of a controlled substance, according to a statement from the Maryland Attorney General’s office.
“Lawrence preyed upon vulnerable women and engaged in human trafficking for profit,” Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement released by his office. “His victims suffered immeasurable harm due to his organized illegal operation. As a result of our investigation and prosecution, Lawrence’s operation was shut down and he will spend many years behind bars.”
Anne Arundel Circuity Court Judge Laura Ripken sentenced Lawrence to a 60-year sentence with all but 20 years suspended, followed by five years of supervised probation. If Lawrence violates his probation, he’d face the full 60-year sentence.
Lawrence was indicted in April after a nine-month investigation by Anne Arundel County police to combat an increase in prostitution along Interstate 95. During the investigation, police interviewed several victims who said they worked for Lawrence and discovered how he ran the trafficking operation. He was arrested in April in Baltimore County, according to police records. He has been held without bond since then, according to online court records.
“There are certain crimes that make even the most veteran of officers sick, human trafficking is one of them,” county Police Chief Timothy J. Altomare said in a statement. “We will always go after those criminals taking advantage of the vulnerable. I would like to say I am proud of our police department and thankful for the Office of the Attorney General for their commitment to keeping our citizens safe and our streets clean.”
Capital Gazette reporter Alex Mann contributed to this story.