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William McKinnley Garland, accused sex trafficker, used jail tablet to send hundreds of messages, prosecutors say

20 Dec 2023, Jail News, by

William McKinnley Garland, accused of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sent numerous messages from Fannin County Jail using a tablet.

William McKinnley Garland, accused sex trafficker, used jail tablet to send hundreds of messages, prosecutors say - Inmate Lookup

Federal prosecutors disclosed that a 40-year-old suspected ring leader, William McKinnley Garland, used a tablet given to him while he was in jail to send hundreds of texts to others connected to the sex trafficking case that involved him.

Garland, a Plano resident, appeared on Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Plano facing federal charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, and/or coercion.

During the court proceedings, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Miller revealed that Garland had sent approximately 600 messages to people involved in the case while in jail.

He sent these messages using a tablet that the county jail provided. Magistrate Judge Kim Johnson promptly granted Miller’s request to seize the tablet. Judge Johnson also warned Garland against contacting potential witnesses, co-defendants, and victims in the case.

Garland did not deny sending the messages but informed the court that he was not aware of the restrictions until that day.

According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Garland is currently held in Fannin County Jail.

A spokesperson faced questions from a news outlet, NBC 5, about how and why he was allowed the electronic device while in custody. According to a U.S. attorney’s office spokesperson, several county jails, including the one where Garland is held, have tablets accessible for inmates to make use of. The decision regarding Garland’s access to the electronic device was determined by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

The judge allowed Michael Price II, Garland’s high-profile defense attorney, to step down from representing him prior to this disclosure. Price, who had previously been the defendant’s attorney, filed a move to withdraw.

Price stated that he was previously unaware of the accusations’ nature and the underlying factual allegations.

Price stated that he had not received funds for legal fees when he filed the motion, and he added that, due to the nature, complexity, extensive discovery, and continued detention of the defendant, he requested to withdraw his representation in the current case.

Garland will now be appointed a new attorney by the court for his detention and arraignment hearing, rescheduled for Thursday.

Another alleged suspect in the case, Anastasiya Claire Lyons, appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday, charged in the Eastern District of Texas with fraud, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, and coercion between 2015 and December of this year.

The lengthy investigation involving federal and local law enforcement led to the raid on Garland’s home along Sowerby Drive in Plano.

According to a report, neighbors had sensed suspicious activities at the house, including a constant influx of young women, large bags being moved in and out at night, and luxury vehicles visiting the residence.

William McKinnley Garland kept a low profile, and neighbors observed that he was never loud or disruptive. Some neighbors recall witnessing Texas Rangers agents and SWAT officers descending on the same house about two years ago but departing without making any arrests.

According to a press release issued after the raid, which federal authorities describe as a “years-long investigation,” the 40-year-old and others are accused of enlisting young women to work as escorts and, once enticed, forcing them into “performing commercial sex by William McKinnley Garland or those working under his direction, often through violence or threats of violence.”

Jalen Bobo, 24, and a female accused accomplice who is charged with federal coercion both made court appearances last week. Bobo entered a not guilty plea to the allegations of coercion and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

Detectives are urging anyone with information about the criminal organization to contact the Plano Police Department.



Image source: Photo by Josh Sorenson: