Brooklyn man pleads guilty to sex trafficking, murder in federal court

gavel sex trafficking plea
A Brooklyn man has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking eight women and murdering one.
Photo courtesy of Ekaterina Bolovtsova/Pexels

A Brooklyn man pleaded guilty to sex trafficking eight women and to murdering of one of the trafficking victims, Leondra Foster, in Brooklyn federal court last week.

The defendant, 47-year-old Somorie Moses, also known as “Somorie Barfield,” “Sugar Bear,” “Bear,” and “Daddy,” will face mandatory imprisonment of 15 years to life when he is sentenced. His case is the first to use a federal statute that criminalizes murder in the course of sex trafficking. 

Prior to his arrest for sex trafficking and the 2017 murder, Moses appeared on the New York State sex offender registry after he was found guilty of forcing an underage girl into sex trafficking in 2006. He was first charged under the federal statute last spring. 

“With today’s guilty plea to every count in the indictment, Moses is held fully responsible for preying on women and girls, forcing them to become prostitutes, and then brutally murdering and dismembering one of his many victims,” said Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement. “While the defendant’s total admission of guilt cannot undo the terrible harm he has caused, we hope it will bring a measure of closure to his victims who suffered the defendant’s extreme cruelty and brutality, and to the family of Ms. Foster.”

According to court documents, since at least 2003, Moses has forced women and minors into prostitution for his own financial benefit while using threats of violence, physical violence and psychological manipulation to force the victims to cooperate.

To coerce and entice victims, Moses used false promises of romantic relationships or marriage to initiate sexual relationships with his victims before then forcing them into sex work and to turn over any money they made to him. 

Moses also coerced many of his victims to tattoo his first name onto their bodies. 

When one victim, identified in court as Jane Doe #1, refused to comply with Moses’ demands to engage in prostitution, Moses used a taser against her until she complied. 

Another victim, identified as Jane Doe #2, testified in court that Moses slashed her arms and back with a razor and beat her with a belt before pouring lemon juice onto her wounds, which left her with permanent scarring.

A third victim testified that when she told Moses she did not want to continue working as a prostitute, he put a shotgun in her mouth and threatened to kill her and her child if she did not work.

On Jan. 13, 2017, Moses murdered Leondra Foster, another victim he sex trafficked. According to court documents, Moses dismembered Foster’s body inside the Brooklyn apartment they shared.

Four days later, Moses disposed of some of Foster’s remains at a Bronx sanitation site. Following Moses’ arrest in 2017 Foster’s head, hands and feet — with one foot bearing a “Somorie” tattoo — were located in a deep freezer inside of Moses’ apartment.

“Moses exploited vulnerable women and robbed them of their freedom and dignity for his own personal gain, and even brutally robbed one woman of her life,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith. “Stopping human trafficking remains a top priority of the FBI and our partners, and we hope that this plea will result in some solace for the survivors to know that Moses will pay for his crimes and no longer be able to harm anyone else.”