Brothers Dionte, 15, and Thaishaun Hunter, 17, in Spokane, Washington are facing a series of charges associated with running a prostitution ring out of their mother's home. Police were alerted to the operation when 17-year-old Hunter was arrested after a shooting and placed in juvenile detention, reports NBC local affiliate KHQ.
Police uncovered the brother's sex trade operation after tapping into the phones of Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center, following up on a shooting investigation from earlier this year. They were hoping to find out whether the suspect was trying to threaten and intimidate witnesses, but ended up hearing the young man giving instructions to his 15-year-old brother on how to run a prostitution ring to raise $17,500 (£11,400) to bail him out.
The 15-year-old was instructed by his older brother on how to use women, including girlfriends and underage girls, for prostitution. Some girls involved were as young as 14 years of age.
The brothers talked in code, but conversations included ordering his younger brother: "Make them think they're going to be reimbursed, even if they're not." The 17-year-old brother instructed his younger sibling: "Treat them right, that way they stay around, and make sure they do the calls," court documents reveal.
The younger brother advertised the young women on a classified ads website and sent them out on calls. The women were reportedly beaten when they did not comply with their pimps.
The Associated Press reports documents show the boys' mother was receiving 25% of the profits. She tells KHQ Thaishaun has been charged with leading organized crime, but that police don't have the grounds to charge him. She says the family is still fighting it. "This has turned my life upside and I still have my daughter and grandson to raise," she says.
Their mother said to KHQ that her sons are 'good boys' but have made bad choices. She says that it's nothing like police are making it out to be though. She told KHQ reporter Caitlin Rearden "police are abusing their power, creating ridiculous charges out of next to nothing." and that she doesn't believe her sons are guilty. She claims she has never received a dollar from either of her boys or her grandson's mother and had no knowledge of any prostitution ring.
The two brothers, who are now in custody at Spokane County Jail, now face a range of charges, including exploiting a minor for sexual purposes, promoting sex with a minor and possession of depictions of minors.