BOSTON (WWLP) – A man was indicted on sex trafficking and cocaine charges for allegedly operating a drug and sex trafficking hub out of a tent on Mass and Cass in Boston.

According to the Department of Justice in Boston, 35-year-old Jonathan Vaughan, a/k/a “Ason,” was indicted on three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, two counts of transportation of an individual for purposes of prostitution and, possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Vaughan allegedly called himself “Ason the Pimp” and had a tattoo across his chest that states: “Pimp or Die.” He is alleged to have forced at least two of his victims to solicit themselves, by walking “the track” in areas such as Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard (Mass and Cass). If you may be a victim of this crime, contact USAMA.VictimAssistance@usdoj.gov.

On October 13, 2021, Vaughan was arrested on state charges and allegedly had 15 bags of cocaine intended for distribution to drug users. According to the indictment, from at least June 2019 through October 2021, Vaughan recruited and trafficked three female victims to engage in commercial sex acts by means of threats of force, fraud and coercion.

“Sex trafficking is a heinous crime that inflicts immeasurable pain and trauma on victims and communities,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Vaughan allegedly preyed on and exploited multiple vulnerable victims, by coercion and by force, to engage in sex acts for his own financial benefit. He profited off of people’s pain. These alleged offenses are all too real – sex trafficking is happening all the time, even at this very moment, in our communities yet often goes unnoticed or ignored. No longer. My office will continue to work with community partners supporting victims and will use every means possible in our relentless pursuit to eradicate sex trafficking and the predators that perpetrate this violence and harm.”

“Vaughan is alleged to have used violence, threats, and drugs to coerce and control women, profiting financially by forcing them to perform sexual services for a fee and making it extremely difficult to escape,” said Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge for the Homeland Security Investigations’ Boston Field Office. “Homeland Security Investigations is grateful to our partners at Barnstable Police Department and Boston Police Department for their collaboration in this case. Partnerships like these are critical to our mission to both investigate alleged human traffickers and help victims feel stable, safe, and secure.”

“The Barnstable Police Department recognizes the enormous impact on the victims and the community in these types of cases.  We also know that human trafficking affects all walks of life and has extended its toxic reach to the Cape Cod community. Knowing these cases are often difficult for a single agency to investigate alone, we have dedicated Detective Katie Parache as a full time task force officer with the Department of Homeland Security Human Trafficking Task Force. Detective Parache will continue to work with state and federal partners to identify, target, and eradicate individuals that pray upon the vulnerable members of Cape Cod.  We are grateful for these strong partnerships that allowed us to fully investigate this case and bring justice and peace to the victims,” said Barnstable Police Department Chief Matthew Sonnabend.

“The Boston Police Department is committed to identifying and investigating sex trafficking in order to provide safety to victims and hold offenders accountable for horrific crimes such as these. This individual took advantage of, and terrorized the most vulnerable members of our community. I would like to thank the members of the Boston Police Department who worked on this investigation as well as our law enforcement partners for the tremendous collaboration and coordination that enabled this violent offender to be brought to justice. This indictment serves as a clear message that this egregious behavior will never be tolerated,” said Gregory Long, Superintendent-in-Chief of the Boston Police Department.

“Jonathan Vaughan is accused of sexually exploiting vulnerable women through force and coercion, and transporting them to other states,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Anyone who commits this heinous crime should know the FBI’s Child Exploitation – Human Trafficking Task Force will rigorously pursue them, while providing their victims with the resources they need to recover from the trauma they have suffered.”

“My office is working diligently to address the harm inflicted by violent human traffickers while ensuring that victims of sexual exploitation have the supports and services they need and deserve. These indictments represent what we can do on behalf of both survivors and our communities when we collaborate across agencies. I’m grateful to the members of my Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit, the Boston Police Department, and our federal partners for their tireless work to hold a violent individual accountable and protect vulnerable members of our community from exploitation,” said Kevin R. Hayden, Suffolk County District Attorney.