Baltimore woman accused of leading sex trafficking ring in Maryland, including Hagerstown

This story includes strong language of human trafficking, sex abuse and drugs that some readers might find disturbing.

A Baltimore woman faces numerous felonies after being accused of leading a human trafficking and sex trafficking organization operating in Washington County as well as in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties from 2019 to 2021, according to an indictment filed by the attorney general's office.

Kenika Danielle Leach, 33, appeared in Washington County Circuit Court on Tuesday when she was handed a copy of approximately 110 pages of her indictment that lists 135 criminal charges.

Among those charges are felonies for her alleged participation in a criminal organization whose members and associates would refer to it as the "Pussy Kat Klub" or the "Klub," according to the indictment. That organization "advertised to customers as having women of 'all different flavors[,] shapes[,] and sizes' available for commercial sex acts and prostitution," the indictment states.

Leach, according to charging documents, was identified by Baltimore gang detectives as a member of the Cedar Block Piru 554 Bloods street gang. She allegedly has admitted to investigators she holds the rank of "OG" or "Original Gangster" with the Bloods.

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While the trafficking indictment mentions at least three other individuals who allegedly participated in the criminal organization, The Herald-Mail could not find charges filed in Maryland courts related to sex trafficking for the alleged allegations in recent years.

When The Herald-Mail asked the Attorney General's press office whether there were arrest warrants for those individuals, the press office responded Tuesday that no other people had been charged in this case as of that time.

According to the indictment filed in late March, the Klub's supervisors would recruit women for trafficking and sex acts — primarily recruiting from Hagerstown where the women grew up or lived at the time they were recruited.

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Many of the victims were "particularly vulnerable to exploitation due to drug addiction and/or homelessness," the indictment states. Two men accused in Leach's indictment of participating in the organization "often recruited the women by developing romantic relationships with them and then passing them on to Leach to be trafficked."

The women were taken to hotels around the state including in those three counties to perform commercial sex acts and prostitution to benefit the Klub. Appointments the "customers" had with these victims were referred to as "dates."

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The description of the alleged trafficking ring included the use of several hotels in the Hagerstown area as well as near the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, according to court documents.

Among the hotels used by the Klub were the then-Baymont Inn & Suites at 431 Dual Highway, the Quality Inn and Suites at 920 Dual Highway, the Motel 6 at 11321 Massey Boulevard in Halfway, and the Red Roof Inn at 310 E. Potomac St. in Williamsport, according to the indictment.

Other hotels included the Extended Stay America at 939 International Drive, the Motel 6 at 5179 Raynor Ave. and the Red Roof Plus at 827 Elkridge Landing Road, all in Linthicum Heights in Anne Arundel County; and the Quality Inn at 1806 Belmont Ave. in Windsor Mill and the Ramada by Wyndham Pikesville/Baltimore North at 1721 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville — both in Baltimore County.

In Leach's indictment, it states that she and others allegedly operated the trafficking organization in those three counties from at least December 2019 through December 2021.

Leach and the supervisors are accused of recruiting the women, renting hotel rooms, soliciting promotional photos from the women, posting those photos on escort sites, determining the nature and duration of the sex acts available, and setting the prices, according to the indictment.

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Leach is accused of using drugs such as cocaine to coerce the victims into performing sex acts, knowing they were addicts, the indictment states. This created "drug debts" with the victims repaying Leach by performing sex acts to earn money.

A multiyear investigation ensued after a victim was found at a Baltimore hospital in December 2021. The investigative team included Maryland State Police, Baltimore City Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Hagerstown Police, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, and the attorney general's Organized Crime Unit.

At the time the original trafficking charges were filed in early March this year, investigators had spoken with "approximately nine victims," according to charging documents.

Trafficking allegations tied to 2020 kidnapping case in Hagerstown

Leach also is accused of using physical violence to control the victims, but not damaging their faces so they were still presentable, according to the indictment.

Leach and one of the supervisors in the organization are accused of storming in the Hagerstown home of one woman, assaulting her and abducting her because she owed a drug debt, the indictment states.

Leach and two other people were charged in January 2020 with kidnapping that Hagerstown woman. Hagerstown Police, in charging documents at the time, wrote that the kidnapping appeared to be about an unpaid drug debt.

In that case, Leach pleaded guilty in July 2020 to conspiracy to commit home invasion. A second-degree assault and theft charge were placed on the stet, or inactive, docket while other charges, including kidnapping were dismissed, according to court records.

Leach was sentenced by Washington County District Court Judge Terry A. Myers to three years in state prison with all of that suspended except for 176 days she had already served, court records state. Leach was put on three years of supervised probation with a note that her sentence could be modified if she completed 160 hours of community service.

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Leach was issued a warning letter about her failure to complete community service and had not contacted the Baltimore County Community Service Office.

Warrants were issued for Leach for failing to complete her community service, a probation violation, and for not appearing in court for a traffic hearing in Baltimore County, according to a 2021 report by a probation agent requesting another warrant.

Leach was served warrants in late January this year and sentenced in March to 60 days with almost half of that suspended in the traffic case, according to a March report by probation officials.

Another report was filed four days later to inform the court an arrest warrant was issued for Leach in the sex trafficking case and that Leach was being held without bond at the Washington County Detention Center. In that report, Leach was listed as having a Dundalk, Md., address.

After Leach's Jan. 29 arrest this year, she was interviewed by detectives about the trafficking allegations.

According to charging documents, Leach allegedly admitted to renting hotel rooms for the women to do commercial sex acts.

"Leach said that most of the women were 'street walkers' and that her goal was to 'take them off the street,'" charging documents state. "Leach said that when she went to Hagerstown, she would go to Jonathan Street, which is well known for prostitution and drugs."

Investigators called to Mercy Hospital for alleged trafficking victim from Hagerstown

According to charging documents filed against Leach in early March, Baltimore Police Department detectives were advised of a possible sex trafficking victim at Mercy Medical Center in December 2021.

Detectives spoke with a female patient who told them she was a victim of sex trafficking by "Nikia," who was identified as Leach, according to charging documents. The patient allegedly told police she was homeless in Hagerstown around July 2021 when she and a friend met Leach, who "transported" her from the then Sheetz gas station at 301 E. Washington St. near downtown Hagerstown to the Baltimore area.

That Sheetz closed earlier this year.

In the Baltimore area, Leach is accused of "physically and psychologically" abusing the victim, including using the victim's drug addiction "to control, manipulate, and exploit" the victim into performing commercial sex acts, charging documents state. While the victim performed the acts, Leach would allegedly receive payment and the victim would be paid in drugs.

While the victim "made" $60 to $800 a day prostituting, she could keep half that. Later, Leach is accused of keeping all the money.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Maryland woman accused of sex trafficking: What the charges state