CHICAGO (STMW) - Two members of the aspiring Chicago rap group Hit Squad had a more lucrative side business, according to federal prosecutors—they used guns and violence to force girls into prostitution.
Samuel Nichols, aka Buck; and Charles Fears, aka Kash, were charged Friday with one count each of engaging in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Since 2012, the pair “worked together to recruit females, including minors, to engage in the commercial sex business,” a federal criminal complaint states, then would force them to live in motels where they worked.
Prosecutors claim the pair carried guns to intimidate the girls, at least one of whom was as young as 13. If the girls did not follow their “rules,” Nichols and Fears “would often hit, slap and choke the females who worked for them, including one incident in which Nichols beat a female so badly she had to be hospitalized,” prosecutors said.
They would provide the girls with cocaine, crack cocaine and alcohol for extra energy so they could work longer hours, prosecutors said.
They would post ads on the website Backpage.com with photographs of the females “wearing lingerie and posing in sexual positions”, according to the complaint. Nichols and Fears then gave the women cell phones and “instructed them to answer calls and schedule meetings with Backpage.com customers, according to the complaint.
Meetings generally took place in suburban motels, including Naperville, Downers Grove, Schaumburg, Lansing, Harvey, Alsip and Joliet, the complaint states. After the women performed sexual acts for money, they would have to give the cash to Nichols and Fears.
One of the women told prosecutors that “on a busy day … she serviced 10 to 20 commercial sex customers and made as much as $1,000, all of which she gave to Nichols,” the complaint states.
The 22-year-old Fears was arrested Friday morning in Chicago, and was scheduled for a detention hearing at 11 a.m. Jan. 22 in federal court in Chicago. The 30-year-old Nichols was arrested in Tennessee and ordered brought back to Chicago.
Prosecutors said Nichols and Fears are members of local rap music group called “Hit Squad,” not to be confused with the 1990s East Coast-based hip hop band of the same name. The criminal complaint says they post music videos on YouTube and other websites.
If convicted, they face a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life.
The FBI, CArol Stream police and Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force took part in the investigation.