NORFOLK, Va. – A California man pleaded guilty Friday to organizing and running a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy and commercial sex ring from his state prison cell.
Court documents say 42-year-old Foster Shane Gaines was serving an eight-year sentencing in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for prostituting a woman. News 3 reporter Samantha German reported on his indictment in March.
Starting around 2016, Gaines launched a drug trafficking organization that distributed methamphetamine from a source of supply in California to co-conspirators in the Tidewater area.
Using cellphones smuggled into prison, Gaines directed co-conspirators in California, Nevada and elsewhere to mail parcels of methamphetamine to co-conspirators in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Petersburg and elsewhere.
Once the methamphetamine was distributed to customers that Gaines, at times, personally arranged using his contraband cellphones, the co-conspirators returned the proceeds from the sales to Gaines and his confederates by way of prepaid stored value cards or bulk cash sent through the mail.
In addition to trafficking drugs, Gaines also organized and led a commercial sex ring that at times involved approximately 10 women and two girls. Again, using his smuggled cellphones, he recruited women and girls to work as prostitutes by contacting them over various social media platforms.
In exchange for 40-50% of their commercial sex proceeds, he created online advertisements for commercial sex, rented hotel and motel rooms, communicated with customers, organized transportation and otherwise managed their commercial sex activities.
Gaines also arranged for a professional photographer to take sexually suggestive photographs of some women to be used in the commercial sex advertisements he created for them and frequently directed his co-conspirators to provide cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs to the women and girls prostituting.
As with the proceeds from the methamphetamine sales, Gaines directed that the women and girls transmit their commercial sex proceeds to him through bulk cash mailings or prepaid stored value cards.
Gaines pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, commonly known as “ice,” and 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and sex trafficking of a child.
Each charge carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison when sentenced on January 31, 2020.
This case was a part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.