CHICAGO (CBS) — The FBI on Wednesday was asking for help in finding potential victims and information about two truck drivers – one of them from Chicago – who are accused of kidnapping women and demanding ransom for their release.
They also tried to make the women work as prostitutes, authorities allege.
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As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, the federal charges read like a horrible movie script – truckers driving up and down the interstate and abducting beating, and assaulting women – and then demanding ransom from their families.
One of the truckers is from the Chicago area, and the feds fear there could be many more victims of the trucking duo.
You can’t hop on the interstate and avoid truckers. They are usually the first to see something or say something when things go wrong. Yet the feds say these two truckers did more than just drive the freeway.
Brian Summerson, 25, and Pierre Washington, 35, have both been arrested in the case and have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Memphis, Tennessee.
Summerson, of Dillon, South Carolina, was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida on charges of battery causing bodily harm, false imprisonment, and tampering with a witness calling 911. Summerson is an over-the-road trucker with a primary route on Interstate 95 from New Jersey to Miami, but who also travels to Chicago and to Kansas City, Missouri.
He claims his name is Von or Vaughn when meeting victims, the FBI said.
Washington is from Chicago and was arrested in the city in March by the FBI. He owns a trucking company called God Got Me LLC and is also an over-the-road trucker with an unknown route, the FBI said.
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A grand jury indictment handed down March 25 said Summerson held women against their will, physically assaulting them and sometimes transporting across state lines as he coerced them to work as prostitutes under Washington.
If a woman would not work as a prostitute, Summerson would try to extort money for her return, using the phone or the internet to make ransom demands, the indictment said.
Washington’s God Got Me trucking company is based out of Palatine. Its website was still up and running as of Wednesday night, but the company’s address links back to an apartment complex in the northwest suburbs.
Court records reveal Washington stays there with his family.
The defendants are considered over-the-road truckers, who drive long distances. That leaves investigators to worry.
They say Washington’s route changed constantly, and they don’t know how many other women he may have victimized along the way.
The FBI is still investigating, and said its investigation has revealed photos, videos, and texts of additional women on Summerson’s electronic devices and accounts.
While the charges against the two truckers were file din Tennessee, Washington appeared virtually at a detention hearing at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse before being released on home detention.
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Anyone with information on the case, or who may be a victim or may have been affected by the crimes is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org so an investigator can contact them.