A man who goes by the name Drac — short for Dracula — and is now serving 27 years in prison for pimping women from Australia to Miami to Dubai, must pay one of his victims an additional $400,000 in restitution, a federal appellate judge has ruled.
Damion St. Patrick Baston, who was convicted in Miami federal court of 21 counts of sex trafficking and related crimes in July 2014, appealed his conviction, contending that supplemental information given to a jury was incorrect, that restitution awards were not appropriate and that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him.
Instead of tossing the conviction, Judge William Pryor with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in a March 24 ruling said “the district court erred when it refused to award restitution to a victim of Baston’s sex trafficking in Australia.”
Baston’s attorney, Timothy Cone, an assistant federal public defender, would not comment on the decision, but said he would be filing a “petition for a rehearing.”
In the ruling, Pryor described Baston as someone “who sometimes dressed up as a vampire, complete with yellow contact lenses and gold-plated fangs.”
“Baston forced numerous women to prostitute for him by beating them, humiliating them, and threatening to kill them, and he pimped them around the world, from Florida to Australia to the United Arab Emirates,” he wrote.
Baston’s legal fight began in December 2013, when agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security arrested him in his mother’s apartment in the Bronx.
Baston, who spent some of his childhood in New York, was deported from the United States in the late 1990s for having a prior criminal conviction. During his trial, prosecutors said he had stolen the identity of an American man in order to travel around the globe, including the United States.
He learned the business of sex trafficking from a book titled Pimpology, authored by someone named Pimpin’ Ken.
In June 2014, he faced a 12-person jury. At the time, about six women took the stand and detailed how the Jamaican man beat and raped them as he forced them into his prostitution racket.
“I am not a pimp,” Baston, said during the trial, as he took the stand in his defense.
It took the jury less than six hours to convict him of all 21 counts. In July 2014, U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga said Baston has a “deviant” and “delusional” personality with a “warped sense of reality.”
She sentenced him to 27 years in prison. The court at the time ordered Baston to pay three women restitution: $78,000 to K.L.; $11,200 to T.M.; and $10,070 to J.R. The court denied K.L. an additional $400,000 because the prostitution took place in Australia, not in the United States.
Pryor, however, said in the ruling that “Congress has the power to require international sex traffickers to pay restitution to their victims even when the sex trafficking occurs exclusively in another country.”