Man convicted for attempting to kill suspected witness in sex trafficking case

A 24-year-old man from the Dorchester area of Boston was convicted by a federal jury for attempting to kill another man allegedly involved in a sex trafficking case. The decision came after a seven day trial and was announced by the Justice Department on Thursday.

Jaquan Casanova, who also went by the names “Cass” and “Joffy,” among others, attempted to carry out a hit in April 2013 on Darian “Bo” Thomson, who was facing charges in connection to a multi-state sex trafficking ring that involved a number of underage girls. Thomson was targeted after several members of the crime organization believed he turned on them and was cooperating with federal authorities, who deny the claim.

From 2006 to 2014, numerous women were forced into the prostitution ring through the use of threats, fraud and coercion. Investigators believed those who recruited the girls intentionally targeted females who they deemed as vulnerable, including those who were homeless, drug addicts or previously worked as prostitutes. Additionally, Raymond Jeffreys, who headed the ring and educated others — including Thomson — on how to become “pimp partners” and subsequently shared resources, would target women who already had children and also impregnated a number of the potential victims, with the promise of taking care of their children if they became involved in the prostitution ring. Jeffreys further forced their involvement by threatening to kill them if they chose not to participate.

The prostitution ring, which also included drug running and fraudulent check cashing, stretched throughout Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Nevada, Georgia, Florida and California.

In March 2013, a federal indictment was returned against Jeffreys, Thomson and others for their involvement in the criminal organization. It included charges stemming from the fact that many of the sex trafficking victims were under the age of 18.

At the time of the indictment, Thomson was already behind bars in New Jersey on unrelated charges. A month after the indictment, Thomson was released from the Jew Jersey jail to return to Boston to face the sex trafficking charges, and it was during that time Casanova, at the instruction of Jeffreys, shot Thomson in the head. Jeffreys and others involved in the crime ring apparently believed Thomson was released in exchange for his cooperation with authorities. As a result, the hit was placed on him.

Jeffreys pleaded guilty to the sex trafficking charges, as well tampering with a witness by attempting to kill him and making a false statement to a federal agent. He was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in May 2016. Additionally, Jeffreys will have a five-year supervised released and has been ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and restitution.

Likewise, Casanova was also convicted of tampering with a witness by attempting to kill him, and making a false statement to a federal agent. He is scheduled to be sentenced in mid-September, and could also face up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.