Self-proclaimed king of Bissonnet heads to prison for multi-state sex trafficking scheme


Date: May 22, 2024


HOUSTON — A man has been sentenced for sex trafficking four women by means of force and of taking three women across state lines to engage in prostitution, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

On Oct. 10, 2023, a federal jury in Houston deliberated for approximately three hours before convicting Larry “Lavish” Lewis following a six-day trial.

Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now ordered Lewis to serve 480 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by 10 years of supervised release. At the hearing, the government asked the court to consider the victims in the case and highlighted Lewis’s complete absence of remorse for his crimes.

“Today, the victims of Lewis’s abhorrent crimes have finally received the answer they have been waiting to hear for years,” said Hamdani. “The message the court delivered in its sentence is clear: traffickers do not get to profit from the sale of victims’ bodies. They do not get to use drugs, beatings and threats to compel others to engage in prostitution. Traffickers, like Lewis, are not welcome in the Southern District of Texas, or anywhere outside of a federal penitentiary, and my office will see to that.”

Lewis used physical force and coercion to compel four women to engage in commercial sex in the Bissonnet street area of Houston and various cities in Texas and Louisiana. The jury also found he coerced them to cross state lines to engage in prostitution.

At trial, the victims detailed how Lewis recruited them on false promises of good money and a good life. Lewis confiscated the identification cards of two women and tightly controlled access to their hotel rooms. The women were completely dependent on him for food, lodging and basic necessities.

Lewis’ rules dictated where and how long they worked. The women were required to give Lewis all money they earned after commercial sex dates.

The victims detailed the consequences of breaking Lewis’ rules. He kicked one victim in the head into a window because he believed she disrespected him. During another incident, Lewis whipped the same victim with an electrical cord following an attempt to escape using his vehicle. Another victim described how Lewis broke her ribs and left bruises all over her body after receiving many beatings.

The jury ultimately did not believe defense claims that the women sought out Lewis because of his marketing expertise in the commercial sex industry.

Lewis has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sebastian A. Edwards and Christine J. Lu prosecuted the case.

Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation with the assistance of the FBI as part of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA).

HTRA law enforcement includes members of the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), Houston Police Department, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Attorney General’s Office, Department of Labor (DOL), DOL – Wage and Hour Division, Department of State, Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission, Texas Department of Public Safety, Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General (OIG), Social Security Administration – OIG and Sheriff’s Offices in Harris and Montgomery counties in coordination with District Attorney’s offices in Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend Counties.

Established in 2004, the United States Attorney’s office in Houston formed HTRA to combine resources with federal, state and local enforcement agencies and prosecutors, as well as non-governmental service organizations to target human traffickers while providing necessary services to those that the traffickers victimized. Since its inception, HTRA has been recognized as both a national and international model in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking and prosecuting those engaged in trafficking offenses.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.