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Mother and Daughter Sentenced for Crimes Related to Child Sex Trafficking

This news story was published on December 11, 2012.
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SACRAMENTO, CA—United States District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. today sentenced Latrelle Alicia Hornbuckle, 24, and Tammy Rena Brown, 44, of Sacramento, to six-and-a-half years and three years in prison, respectively, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

On May 1, 2012, Hornbuckle pleaded guilty to witness tampering, and on April 25, 2012, Brown pleaded guilty to concealing a felony. Both defendants were originally indicted for multiple counts relating to the sex trafficking of minors. Brown is Hornbuckle’s mother. Codefendants in the case include Brown’s other daughters, Tynisha, 24; Tamrell, 26; and Cherrelle Hornbuckle, 25. On October 18, 2012, Judge England sentenced Tynisha Hornbuckle to 15 years and eight months and Tamrell Hornbuckle to 12 years and seven months in prison. Cherrelle Hornbuckle is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10, 2013.

According to court documents, starting in 2008, the defendants solicited clients for minor females. At that time, a 13-year-old runaway started working as a prostitute for Tynisha Hornbuckle. This victim continued to work for Tynisha Hornbuckle until the defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2011. Tynisha Hornbuckle was also the pimp for at least two other minor victims. Tamrell Hornbuckle was also the pimp for one of the minor victims after she turned 18. There were also at least two adult victims who worked for both Tynisha and Tamrell Hornbuckle. The sisters would drive the girls to meet clients and then would pick them up at the conclusion. These encounters took place at motels or the homes of Tamrell, Cherrelle, or Latrelle Hornbuckle or at their mother’s house. The owner of the home got a cut.

On May 5, 2011, Tamrell and Latrelle Hornbuckle discussed the FBI investigation with one of the victims. In response to the victim’s questions about what she should say if questioned by the FBI, Latrelle Hornbuckle told the victim to lie. Latrelle Hornbuckle also told the victim that if she were called to testify, she should say nothing. Tamrell and Latrelle Hornbuckle discussed various facts in the case and possible deceptive and false answers the victim could give to the FBI if asked about those facts. For instance, as it concerned a photograph of the victim located on Tamrell Hornbuckle’s phone that was sent to an undercover FBI agent during a prostitution sting, Tamrell and Latrelle Hornbuckle told the victim to tell the FBI that Tamrell had the photograph because the victim had sent it to her and that Tamrell liked girls. In truth, Tamrell Hornbuckle had this photograph of the victim on her phone because she used it to send to potential customers when they inquired about girls who might be available for prostitution services.

Testimony taken during the sentencing hearing for Tynisha and Tamrell Hornbuckle disclosed that two of the minor victims in this case were beaten extensively during their time working as prostitutes for the Hornbuckles. Indeed, beatings to the 13-year old occurred on a daily basis, according to one witness. In addition, victims allowed themselves to be tattooed with the “Hornbuckle” name. Witnesses described this process as “branding.” One victim equated it with how a farmer would treat his livestock. Additional evidence showed that minor children were occasionally present in the residences where prostitution activity occurred.

In sentencing Brown and Hornbuckle, Judge England said that their involvement in the sex trafficking of minors was “extremely offensive,” and that there were “not words to describe” the harm caused by the Hornbuckles through their actions. Addressing Latrelle Hornbuckle, Judge England told her that, “quite frankly, 78 months [in prison] is not enough time.” Were it not for Latrelle Hornbuckle’s absence of a criminal record, Judge England said that his sentence would have been higher. Addressing Tammy Brown, Judge England found the nature and circumstances of her conduct to be “reprehensible.”

Since approximately 2009, Tammy Brown was aware that her daughters were operating a sex trafficking operation in the Sacramento area. She demeaned the minor victims by calling them dirty and refused to allow them to sit on her furniture. She also benefitted by receiving a share of the proceeds from the prostitution ring and frequently told them to “bust more dates” to earn more money.

Judge England found it “incomprehensible” that a woman with children of her own would allow other children to be victimized, particularly when that victimization occurred in her own home. “I can’t believe that a mother would allow that to happen to other children,” said Judge England.

This case was the product of an investigation by the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, a multijurisdictional task force with the FBI, the Sacrament Police Department, and the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon prosecuted the case.

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