Justice gavel

A Plano man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to prostitution and firearm crimes.

According to an indictment obtained by Star Local Media, 40-year-old Wayne Bearden was initially charged for one count of conspiracy to use interstate commerce to promote and facilitate prostitution and one count of coercion and enticement.

Authorities claim Bearden and two co-conspirators, 21-year-old Ashlynn Clark and 29-year-old Shelbi Holzen, ran a prostitution ring with verifiable activity happening as early as June 2013 and continuing through December 2018. Holzen and Clark were reportedly managers of the operation under Bearden’s authority, and three other involved individuals listed on the indictment were identified by initials. It is unclear if these anonymous parties consented to any sexual activity, but Eastern District of Texas public information officer Davilyn Walston said no minors were involved.

Bearden and his associates reportedly leased two-story houses in the 2000 block of Needham Drive in Allen, the 7900 block of Aspermont Drive in Plano and the 2000 block of Childress Drive in Forney between 2014 to 2018 despite the Texas Workforce Commission having no records of employment for him or any other conspirator.

The operation also solicited clients via escort forum websites such as eccie.com and preferred411.com, and booked hotels across the United States for sexual activity via online travel agency Priceline. One of these hotels was the La Quinta Inn in the 6600 block of Communications Parkway in Plano. Other hotels were booked in Michigan, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri.

In an unrelated incident that occurred in August 2018, Bearden called the Plano Police Department and reported a burglary that happened at his Aspermont Drive home.

“Responding officers observed a number of firearms in the home, and a subsequent investigation revealed that Bearden was a previously convicted felon, prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law,” the Eastern District of Texas said in a Wednesday press release. “During the course of the investigation, Plano detectives and special agents with Homeland Security Investigations determined that Bearden was the organizer and leader of a sex trafficking operation.”

For these firearm offenses, Bearden was booked in the Collin County Jail on Sept. 16, 2018 and promptly transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Bearden pleaded guilty to firearm possession of a convicted felon and coercion and enticement on Dec. 4, 2019. A judge sentenced him to 180 months (15 years) imprisonment and five years supervised release. The court also ordered him to register as a sex offender and recommended sex offender treatment while incarcerated.

This investigation was conducted under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods and was done with the assistance of the Plano Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security’s Dallas office.

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