'Devastating': Four Philadelphians charged with sex trafficking of minors

Four Philadelphians have been charged with the sex trafficking of minors, authorities announced Tuesday. 

John Adams, 41, Mercedes Hampton-Devero, 28, Malachai Kendall, 20, and Chukuw Ossai, 31,  all of whom are Philadelphia residents, were arrested, and charged in two separate Indictments with sex trafficking of minors.

Adams, whose self-professed nickname was "Captain Save-A-Hoe," is accused of trafficking two minors during approximately three weeks from multiple locations in Philadelphia in January 2020. He did so along with co-defendants Hampton-Devero and Kendall, according to publicly filed court documents.

Authorities say the defendants allegedly used their cell phones to post advertisements of the victims on a website which is known to be used for advertising sexual services for a fee, they directed the minors to participate in commercial sex acts, and then they took a portion of the proceeds on each occasion.

During this time, Kendall also allegedly used his cell phone to record one of the minors performing oral sex on him and then sent the video to the minor victim.

Also according to court documents, Adams and Kendall each coerced the minors into having sex with them on multiple occasions, and Hampton-Devero instructed one of the minor victims to record commercial sex acts on her cell phone for Devero to post online to attract more sex buyers.

Authorites say that when the minors were rescued and Adams learned he was under investigation by the FBI, he allegedly wiped his cell phone clean of all incriminating evidence.

Kendall was also charged with both production and distribution of child pornography, and Adams was also charged with tampering with evidence in a federal investigation.

Ossai is charged, in a separate indictment, with the sex trafficking of a minor in late January 2020.

According to public filings, Ossai trafficked one minor, took her to a lingerie store where he picked out lingerie for her, posted an advertisement of her on a website, and harbored her in a hotel room in Lester, PA.  

As charged, Ossai drove the minor victim to a housing project in Philadelphia for her to engage in a commercial sex act, and he attempted to have sex with her himself. The minor was rescued from Ossai’s vehicle after he was pulled over in Tinicum Township.

"The crimes alleged in these Indictments will have a devastating and long-lasting impact on these minor victims," said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. "We will continue to work collectively with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute these destructive crimes against vulnerable children."

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment.



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