A convicted sex trafficker who walked away from a San Diego halfway house in May is the target of a nationwide manhunt.
Marquis Barber, who also goes by the nicknames of ‘Cash’ and ‘Clyde’, was convicted of trafficking a 17-year-old girl over the internet. He was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison and 10 months supervised probation in 2013.
But that sentence was apparently cut short, and U.S. Marshals say he was finishing up his sentence at the Core Civic halfway house at 551 S. 35th St.
Typically, inmates who qualify will serve the final months of their sentences at halfway houses.
The facilities offer services to help inmates transition back into public life, for example, helping them to find work.
According to Rochelle Williams, a unit manager at Core Civic, residents need approval to leave and are required to return at a designated time.
Barber left the facility on May 23 and was supposed to return at 8 p.m., according to Deputy U.S. Marshal Ramon Ceballos. Ceballos has been assigned to investigate the case.
In a probable cause statement signed by Ceballos, after Barber failed to show up, escape procedures were undertaken. By 11 p.m., Barber was officially placed on escape status.
A federal criminal complaint shows Barber was charged with sex trafficking a child, in this case, a 17-year-old girl.
San Diego police set up a sting operation in a Mission Valley Hotel. An undercover officer was able to arrange a date with a female advertised on the website backpage.com. The date turned out to be the 17-year-old.
Detectives say the girl had a tattoo with the name 'Marquis' and a crown symbol often used to symbolize pimps.
According to court documents, Barber and the girl had a known residence in the Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area. It’s not known if they had a residence in San Diego.
The U.S. Marshals released more information through an email with NBC 7.
“When a person escapes from a halfway house they are immediately entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as an escaped prisoner. This means that any law enforcement officer coming into contact with that person will be able to quickly discover that they are an escaped prisoner, and be able to place them under arrest. Additionally, the U.S. Marshals Service is able to actively search for an escaped prisoner as soon as they are entered into NCIC, regardless if they have been formally charged as such. In short, an escaped prisoner may be arrested simply for being out of custody before their release date, and immediately returned to prison for the remainder of their sentence. The formal charges of violating 18 USC 751 can come at a later time.”