On July 23, 2014 a jury found Edrick Dillard guilty of Sex Trafficking, Living from the Earnings of a Prostitute and Preventing/Dissuading a Witness from Testifying. This is the first trial verdict of guilty under the new law, which took effect July 1, 2013 and established the crime of sex trafficking. Through Assembly Bill 67, the Sex Trafficking charge was established as a category B felony and carries a minimum term of three years in prison, and a maximum of ten years. Previously, the maximum charge under the law was Pandering and the penalty was one to five years in prison.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc Schifalacqua and Deputy District Attorney Chris Burton were the prosecutors on this case. “The use of the Sex Trafficking charge allows us to seek a much stronger sentence with this guilty verdict.” said Schifalacqua. “The goal is to deter this behavior in the future, and the longer prison terms will further that goal”.
“At the end of the day, we got a good conviction against a bad person,” said Burton. “He is now facing serious time in prison, and is convicted of trafficking, not pandering”.
In this case, Dillard, 38, was accused of meeting a woman online and luring her with promises of a legitimate job in his escort business. A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Vice investigation uncovered that this was in fact a front for prostitution. When the victim tried to leave the business, Dillard physically abused her and intimidated her into continuing to work as a prostitute. After he was arrested, he continued to intimidate her and her family to discourage her from testifying.
Dillard also has a pending trial on similar charges in another case. Those charges pre-date the ones in the July 23 conviction, and the change in the law. “The fact that this man was already facing pandering charges for previous offenses, and he still chose to commit the same crimes while awaiting trial, shows his blatant disregard for the law and his victims,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.
Assembly Bill 67 also made victims of trafficking eligible for state assistance. The victim in this case cooperated during the trial, and was aided by an advocate in the District Attorney Victim/Witness Assistance Center.