SAN DIEGO -- A member of a North Park-based gang was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday for his admitted leadership role in a criminal enterprise that engaged in assault, robbery and sex trafficking of minors.
Aaron Dwayne Pittman, known on the streets as "Q-Tip" or "Lil' Q- Tip," was sentenced under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act during a hearing in the San Diego courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge John Houston.
According to prosecutors, Pittman, 34, acted as pimp for women working as prostitutes in San Diego, Phoenix, Orlando, Honolulu and other cities throughout the United States.
Pittman conspired with other gang members from at least the late 1990s through December 2013 to engage in a pattern of racketeering activities in San Diego County and elsewhere in the United States.
To help carry out the conspiracy, Pittman purchased airplane tickets, posted online ads and promoted the services of a stable of adult and underage prostitutes he referred to as "Team Tip," court documents state.
In a plea agreement, Pittman admitted robbing one of his prostitutes and assaulting another person outside a nightclub in San Diego.
In handing down the sentence, Houston stated that Pittman's conduct was "not victimless criminal activity." Houston also noted that Pittman made a "lavish living out of pimping" and that the defendant had "little regard for the women ... (he) controlled."
In addition to imposing the prison term, the judge ordered Pittman to forfeit vehicles, electronic devices and paraphernalia, including so-called "pimp cups," ornate goblets commonly possessed by procurers as symbols of their status.
Following his release from prison, Pittman will be required to serve three years of supervised release.
The 46-year-old racketeering statute known as RICO initially served as a legal tool to prosecute mobsters and organized crime. In recent years authorities have been using it against street gangs, because such organizations increasingly have operated as criminal enterprises, especially in the realms of sex trafficking and prostitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego.