An Avon Lake woman who helped run an online prostitution ring out of an Elyria rental house has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking and drug trafficking.
Ashley Onysko, 23, could receive a federal prison sentence when she is sentenced next year.
Still awaiting trial is the alleged ring leader of the prostitution ring, Jeremy Mack, who is accused of violently controlling a stable of drug-addicted young women, including a 16-year-old girl, that he and Onysko allegedly rented out to clients through ads on websites such as Backpage.com.
Onysko and Mack, 37, were arrested when Elyria police raided the Tattersall Court home Mack was renting and allegedly holding the women.
According to federal prosecutors and the FBI, Mack would entice his victims into his operation by offering them by selling them heroin and cocaine and later offering to have sex with them in exchange for drugs when their debt became to high for them to afford to buy drugs from him.
Ultimately, court documents said, Mack would tell the women that they were going to have to start prostituting themselves for him in order to pay off their drug debts. He allegedly took the women’s cellphones and held them at the Tattersall Court house, providing them with food, cigarettes, drugs and other items they needed.
Mack allegedly threatened the women with a gun, struck them and even performed body cavity searches on them in an effort to maintain control over them.
Onysko would create online ads featuring the women and then set up appointments for them with clients at local hotels. Some victims told authorities they met with up to 10 clients in one day.
Onysko told police that she carried drugs with her to give to the women so they could perform while serving clients. She also kept a set of books that included details of the women’s appointments and how much their drug debt to Mack was.
For her work managing the prostitution ring, Onsyko received a 30 percent cut of the proceeds.
None of the women who were forced into prostitution will face charges in the case, federal prosecutors have said.
Mack, who has an extensive criminal record, faces a string of conspiracy, sex trafficking and drug trafficking charges as well as allegations he tried to interfere with the federal investigation after he was arrested.
He is accused of telling his son, Toby Lewis, to “stick with the script” when he testified before a grand jury and asked people he knew to get money to Onysko and tell her not to “flip,” according to federal court documents.
Lewis, 18, is facing drug and weapons charges in Lorain County Common Pleas Court .
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.