Man pleads not guilty in Lake County trafficking case
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A Chicago man accused of forcing a woman to perform sex acts for money pleaded not guilty to charges in court Wednesday.
Jeffrey Horton, 27, of the 10000 block of South Claremont Street, faces 18 charges including involuntary servitude, trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution, and conspiring to traffic in persons.
If found guilty of the most serious charges, he could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison.
Defense attorney Bruce Schottland of Round Lake Beach did not comment after the hearing.
Horton and Aaron Thurmond, 22, of the 10000 block of Walden Park in Chicago, were arrested and charged with involuntary servitude on April 3 following a traffic stop in Mundelein.
Police said Thurmond and Horton were driving the 23-year-old Champaign-area victim through Mundelein about 11:15 p.m. when an officer noticed the vehicle's headlights were off.
The officer made a traffic stop and searched the vehicle, where the victim told officers she was paid $300 to have sex with a man in Wauconda and was en route to meet another man in Antioch.
Horton and Thurmond were indicted on the 18 counts about two weeks ago.
The man they were heading to meet, authorities said, was Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Francke, 33, of the 43000 block in Forest Drive in Antioch, police said.
Following a one-month investigation, Francke was arrested May 10 by Mundelein police. He is free on bond. Francke was suspended by the sheriff's office without pay and charged with obstruction of justice/destroying evidence and solicitation of a sex act.
Horton is due back in court June 13. He remains free from jail after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail.
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