- By Mitchell Northam The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
For charges related to human trafficking and possession of illegal drugs, a Lithonia man was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Friday by a Gwinnett County judge.
Wendell Jermaine Gaither, 36, also known as “World,” was convicted on two charges of trafficking a person for sexual servitude, two charges of pimping, trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and driving without a license.
According to a press release from the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s office, police began investigating Gaither when two women he was “exploiting” were arrested on prostitution and drug charges on Jan. 4, 2017. A third woman Gaither was “pimping” was arrested for prostitution on Jan. 18.
Police secured a warrant for Gaither’s arrest and stopped him while he was driving near the Araamda Inn in Norcross. According to police, Gaither attempted to flee on foot, but was later arrested.
In the car he was driving police found 13 grams of cocaine, 333 MDMA pills, 126 grams of marijuana, four grams of cocaine and 46 Xanax pills.
At the trial, Assistant District Attorney Brandon Delfunt presented evidence that showed that Gaither had set up several online ads soliciting prostitution for numerous women, including two that were arrested by police.
One of the women testified at the trial and said that she “was homeless” and Gaither “offered her a place to stay” but soon began to post ads of her on Back Page. She said that “most days” Gaither would five to six men pay for sex with her.
She also testified that Gaither “continuously” gave her methamphetamine, Xanax and Marijuana to keep her high. She said that one time, Gaither forced her to chew and swallow crystal meth so she would stay awake to have sex with more men. The woman said that she was required to give all her money from prostitution to Gaither.
Gaither testified at the trial and said that he “knew nothing” of the prostitution and the drugs belonged to someone else. A jury found him guilty on all counts except for one, acquitting him of a charge for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader ruled that Gaither will serve at least 30 years with no parole.