Cops flush out alleged pimp with party for 'Army buddies'
The Seattle Times
SEATTLE — Police say Jamaal Bomber jumped at the chance to provide “female entertainment” for a group of Army buddies who were throwing a party to welcome home a soldier back from Afghanistan.
The party at a Tukwila motel last month was actually a ruse cooked up by Seattle and Tukwila police to flush out the girls and young women the officers had long suspected were being pimped out by Bomber, a 29-year-old felon with a long history of drug dealing, according to court records.
“We just put it out there that we were having this party and asked, ‘Do you know of anybody who can help us in this regard?’?” said Detective Todd Novisedlak of the Seattle Police Department’s Vice & High Risk Victims Unit. “He jumped at it. It was like, ‘Look no further, I’m your man.’
“We just played off of his arrogance,” Novisedlak said.
Bomber, who is in federal custody on drug charges, was charged Friday in King County Superior Court with one count of promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor for allegedly pimping out a 16-year-old Tukwila girl, according to prosecutors.
But there is evidence Bomber “prostituted or attempted to prostitute four other girls during the period of this investigation” and prosecutors are awaiting interview transcripts and the processing of other evidence before filing additional charges, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Val Richey wrote in charging documents.
Richey also wrote that federal authorities believe Bomber “may be attempting to tamper ... with the victims and witnesses in this case” from behind bars at the federal detention center in SeaTac.
According to police and prosecutors, Bomber had up to nine girls and women prostituting for him — and when they weren’t selling sex, they helped him “by preparing and selling narcotics” out of a Tukwila motel room.
In March, the parents of a 16-year-old Renton girl contacted Novisedlak, concerned their runaway daughter was involved in prostitution, Novisedlak said.
He put out a police bulletin on the girl, which landed on the desk of Tukwila police Sgt. Doug Johnson. Days later, Johnson’s Anti-Crime Team officers recovered the girl at a Tukwila motel and arrested her boyfriend on an unrelated warrant.
The boyfriend was in the process of grooming the Renton girl to prostitute for him, Johnson said.
Johnson had never heard of Jamaal Bomber until he interviewed the boyfriend, who told Johnson that Bomber had been staying at the same motel — the Knight’s Inn on Tukwila International Boulevard — and was coaching him on how to be a better pimp, Johnson said.
Johnson contacted Novisedlak to see what he knew of Bomber.
“He told me he was very familiar with Jamaal,” Johnson recalled.
Novisedlak said he’d first come across Bomber in 2009 and suspected he was pimping juveniles, as well as young adults.
“We knew who they were. But the juveniles, we could never catch up to them, we never had eyes on them,” he said.
Johnson and Novisedlak suspect Bomber moved his prostitution operation to Tukwila several months ago to avoid police detection in Seattle.
“He’s jurisdiction shopping. He thinks he can come down to the South End and fly under the radar,” Johnson said.
In April, after an informant told Johnson’s team that Bomber and his brother “were trying to offload a gun,” two undercover agents with the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were brought into the investigation to buy a rifle they suspect was stolen, Johnson said.
After they bought the gun from Fred Bomber, the conversation turned to drugs, and undercover agents purchased cocaine from Jamaal Bomber on three different occasions, according to Johnson and charging documents filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Secret indictments were filed, charging Jamaal Bomber with federal drug crimes and his brother, who also has a long criminal history, with a federal firearms violation, court records show.
During the final drug buy in late May, an ATF agent mentioned he was planning a party for a returning soldier and Jamaal Bomber told him he could provide six prostitutes, each costing $150 an hour, according to charging documents.
“Jamaal was like, ‘This is how it works.’ It was essentially ‘Pimping 101’ and it got very graphic,” Johnson said.
Arrest warrants for the brothers were secured on the federal charges and on June 14, the day of the party, two women and the 16-year-old Tukwila girl were seen leaving Jamaal Bomber’s motel room, charging papers say. They picked up a third woman along the way and arrived at a different motel, where the undercover agent handed over $1,200 to the 16-year-old, according to charging papers.
The girl and women were detained, and two different SWAT teams were ordered to take Jamaal and Fred Bomber into custody, charging documents say. When SWAT officers entered Jamaal Bomber’s motel room, they found him with a naked 16-year-old girl he was trying to persuade to join the party for the returning soldier, Johnson said.
On Friday, detectives served a warrant on Jamaal Bomber’s car and found a loaded shotgun, cocaine and heroin in the trunk, along with evidence linking him to a number of prostitution ads on backpage.com, Johnson said.
Johnson said the multiagency takedown of Bomber was incredibly satisfying, especially because pimping cases can be so difficult to prove.
“These victim girls ... are so reluctant to go against the pimp, but in this case, we were able to build such a strong case against him that the girls saw no alternative,” Johnson said. “They knew he was done.”