FBI: Rape Defendant Also Involved in Trafficking Drugs, Sex

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UPDATED: Tuesday July 29, 2014 6:39 PM

Investigators say he was one of the kingpins in an operation to sell drugs and sex across North Central Ohio.  They say his list of victims reaches into the dozens.

This week Rashaun Ramsey goes to trial in a case involving just one victim, but prosecutors say this is only the beginning.

Broken windows mark the Mansfield home where Rashaun Ramsey was arrested in March.  Neighbors too terrified to speak on camera report round the clock suspicious activity at the Rowland Avenue house from the time Ramsey moved in, until the night his home was raided by police.

Richland County Prosecutors say it's where he raped a woman who he had forced into prostitution.

But a special agent with the FBI says she is far from Ramsey's only victim.  "There have been several witnesses that have come forward with sexual assault reports.  At this time I have close to thirty,” testified FBI Special Agent Brian Yingling at a May bond hearing during which prosecutors urged a magistrate to keep Ramsey behind bars.

Yingling says Ramsey and his brother Robert are part of a gang called the Heartless Felons, described as "the number one violent gang in northeast Ohio."  Investigators say Robert Ramsey "was involved in directing and controlling females, forcing them into servitude."

Left: Robert Ramsey.  Right: Rashaun Ramsey

Of Rashaun Ramsey, a magistrate wrote "he now has innumerable new victims of very serious offenses involving sex and violence that reach across...many counties and could cover most of the state."

Yingling testified to witness tampering and violence.  "I know that there have already been threats made, and I believe that this particular crew or family has the ability to carry them out."

A Magistrate agreed, ordering Rashaun Ramsey held on $5,000,000 bond.

This week, a jury will decide his guilt or innocence on one case.  The FBI says federal charges could come within weeks.

Jury selection began Tuesday in Rashaun Ramsey's trial.  Testimony is expected to start Thursday morning.

Ramsey was previously convicted of rape, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery in 1998.

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