A 62-year-old Lutz man has been found guilty in federal court of forcing women into prostitution, controlling the victims by supplying them with addictive presciption drugs, authorities said.
Andrew Blane Fields faces from 15 years to life in prison after his conviction for possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.
At trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence that Fields recruited women who were engaging in prostitution or performing at strip clubs, then rapidly escalated their drug use into full-blown addiction.
Evidence included the testimony of five victims of the scheme, narcotics seized from Fields — namely oxycodone, dilaudid and morphine — and images of Fields defendant “surreptitiously distributing narcotics to a hospitalized victim,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Fields was arrested in March and charged in an indictment a month later charging him with two counts of intent to distribute and three counts of sex trafficking. A superseding indictment Aug. 22 said Fields used the victims’ fear of withdrawal symptoms to force them into prostitution for his profit, the Justice Department said in a news release.
At the time of his arrest, authorities said he trafficked out of his mobile home in a park community on East 151st Avenue in Lutz. Investigators said at least 20 women bought drugs there or performed prostitution for him from 2008 to 2012. Investigators said Fields, at 6 feet 2 inches tall and 300 pounds, once “physically forced” pills down a woman’s mouth when she refused to keep working for him, “feeding her prescription pill addiction.”
. “This defendant preyed on vulnerable members of our society — young women living in the shadows and on the margins, struggling to get by,” said Jocelyn Samuels, acting U.S. assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division. “Using false promises to lure them in, he cruelly exploited them for his own profit.”