Local man gets long sentence for 15-year career as violent human trafficker

A federal judge in Boston on Thursday sentenced Bruce "Arki" Brown, 43, of Dorchester, to 11 1/2 years in federal prison for a 15-year career as a pimp that included routine beatings and threats to keep the women - and one 16-year-old - working for him in line, the US Attorney's office reports.

Even after his arrest and confinement in 2020, Brown devised a plan with pals on the outside to get the women women not to testify, Brown admitted when he pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor, transportation of a minor for purposes of prostitution, two counts of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, obstruction of justice and witness tampering in November. An alleged accomplice, Muriel Close, pleaded guilty to one charge against her last year, but has yet to have her case heard on another case.

Both prosecutors and his own attorney agreed on the length of Brown's sentence in sentencing memoranda submitted to US District Court Judge Patti Saris.

In their sentencing memorandum, prosecutors detailed just what sort of horrible person Brown was, for example, in using beatings and water torture to keep the women in control, as described by one of his victims:

"[H]e would turn the tub, shower on ,.. and grab her by the hair, and bring her under the water so she can[not] breathe, take her back out and yelling at her, and put her back in the water, or hitting her, punching her."

Prosecutors continued:

"It is impossible to overstate the impact the defendant's conduct has had upon each of his victims. This wasn't a crime committed from behind a computer screen. This was not an anomaly; it was not a one-time mistake or an ill-fated choice. This crime was personal. It was hands on. And it was deliberate. Brown purposefully targeted girls and women that he knew would be susceptible to his tactics—girls and women that were vulnerable. His victims were drug addicts, teenagers, those who were down on their luck. He lured them with promises of a relationship, of money and of a better life. Then he took the SIM cards out of their phones. He carried guns around them. He beat them and beat others in front of them. And when he was caught, he doubled down by enlisting co-conspirators to get the victims to change their stories. Our society cannot and will not tolerate this type of conduct, especially the exploitation of a minor, a 16 year old."

Also, it's not like he knows anything but crime, they continued: His entire criminal record goes back 25 years and includes convictions for distribution of cocaine, grand theft auto, possession of firearms, and assault and battery. His attempt to coerce or convince women to not cooperate with prosecutors after his arrest is just further evidence he needs a long sentence, they wrote.

"Brown's "Plan B" — his attempts to contact and manipulate victims into changing or recanting their testimony while incarcerated, demonstrate that he continued to believe he was above the law even after he was indicted in this case. He was emboldened, he chose to direct his obstruction and witness tampering on monitored and recorded jail lines in hopes that either it wouldn't be discovered or that no on e would care if it was. Third, Brown's callous disregard for the truth and disrespect for federal law enforcement and this Court continues in his pre-sentence interview, as documented in [a report by Probation]. As demonstrated by the government's objections to the [Probation report] and the wild inconsistencies between the defendant's bail interview, his family members' interviews, and his pre-sentence interview, the defendant does not hesitate to inexplicably lie about anything he thinks could somehow marginally serve him, even after pleading guilty."

In his sentencing recommendation, Brown's attorney asked that he be placed in a prison drug-treatment program and that he be allowed to serve his time in a prison in the Northeast, so that his family can visit him. He attempted to explains some of Brown's behavior as that of a man who was beaten as a child by an abusive mother and then further beaten and himself raped by his father's girlfriends, with whom his father left him on drug-selling forays, all of which started him on the path to mental illness and substance abuse

"Although he was not a member of the local gang in the area in which he grew up, he was no stranger to interacting with gang members and/or the drugs and violence that followed them and were endemic to his neighborhood. From an early age, Brown has been dealing with extremely difficult circumstances, and what most would consider a hard life."

Now, as an adult, he not only suffers direct mental effects from that but from high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression and PTSD, as well as bad knees. He has contracted Covid-19 twice while awaiting sentencing.

"Despite his own difficult circumstances, Brown’s life is not without its blessings. He has two children, both of whom he is close with. His daughter is 8 years old. As a result of this case, he has had very limited communication with her. One of the things he is most looking forward to in pleading guilty and beginning his sentence, is the lifting of any orders preventing contact with his daughter as a result of this case. Being able to complete his sentence and have an opportunity to know his daughter outside of prison is a huge impetus for his desire to have the requested sentence imposed and to begin his journey of rehabilitation. In this same vein, Brown respectfully requests a judicial recommendation to [the Bureau of Prisons] that he be classified to a facility that will allow him to remain in as close proximity as possible to his family, so that they may visit him on a regular basis.

"Respectfully, although the crimes to which Brown has pleaded guilty are horrific, he is not simply a monster; he is at least, in part, a product of his environment and upbringing. He is also a person, a father, a member of a family, and someone who is not unredeemable and can be rehabilitated. He looks forward to living a happy and productive life with his family once he has atoned for his crimes."


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