Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Human trafficking charges follow accusation Largo man used woman's addiction to painkillers to control her for months

LARGO — The young woman said she was smitten by the older man who frequented the local strip club where she worked as a dancer.

After she performed a private dance for him in a limo in January 2010, the two began dating. He promised he'd take care of her, she said, so she moved into his Largo home.

But instead, she said, he began to monitor her every move, took away her cell phone and plied her with oxycodone in exchange for sexual favors, she said.

She told no one the full story, she said — until Tuesday, when police came to their home and the woman opened up to them.

After serving a search warrant and finding prescription drugs, more than $80,000 in cash and a ledger documenting how much oxycodone the man was giving her, Largo police arrested 63-year-old Joseph N. Lallier of 8240 Wild Oaks Way and charged him with human trafficking, a rare charge in Pinellas County.

Police said Lallier, a felon, controlled the woman for about a year and a half and kept her as a virtual prisoner by taking advantage of her addiction to oxycodone. Lallier kept the drugs locked up in a 400-pound safe at their home, police said.

"She has an addiction where he would end up supplying her, kind of preying on that addiction, because he had the ability to supply the narcotics she was addicted to," said Largo police Lt. Mike Loux. "She felt like she was trapped there or couldn't go anywhere."

Neither police nor the St. Petersburg Times is naming the woman due to the nature of the allegations.

But in an interview with the Times Wednesday afternoon, the woman said Lallier initially offered her "a beautiful life." Then, after she moved into his beige stucco home in the quiet Wild Oaks neighborhood south of Ulmerton Road, Lallier began "cutting off my ties" with family and friends, she said. He threatened to hurt her or her loved ones if she told anyone what was happening, she said.

"He took anything and everything I had, any resources I had to get out," she said.

The woman acknowledges she was "highly addicted" to narcotic painkillers when she met Lallier, having gotten hooked on them after she suffered a debilitating back injury when she fell off a roof as a teenager. Lallier would dole out the pills to her and keep track in the ledger, she said.

In an arrest report, police said Lallier "began to control her movements and her dosages of oxycodone for sexual favors." Police said Lallier had an alarm system at his house and refused to give the woman the code so he would know if she tried to leave. He also made her give him money she made at her job and he kept track of what she owed him, according to the report.

The woman said Lallier would go to her job and watch her, at times throwing fits if she talked to other people.

Police say they became aware of the situation after Lallier called them Tuesday morning, saying he wanted the woman out of his house.

After the woman told officers her side of the story, police got the warrant and found the money, the ledger and various drugs. Lallier also was charged with trafficking in oxycodone and possession of Xanax (an antianxiety medication), Trazadone and Fluoxetine (antidepressants), Carisprodol (a muscle relaxer) and marijuana.

Human trafficking is a worldwide issue that generally takes the form of forced labor, domestic servitude or forced prostitution. Trafficked people can be physically forced or coerced or deceived into various exploits, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

In Pinellas County, Lallier is the seventh person charged with human trafficking over the past two years. In December, local authorities found 27 Hispanic and Asian people in two homes in Largo and Clearwater. The disposition of that case was unclear Wednesday.

Lallier owns the roughly 2,000-square-foot house with his wife, Wendy Lallier, according to Pinellas County property appraiser records. Pinellas civil court documents show Lallier's wife filed for divorce in February. That case is ongoing.

Wednesday evening, Lallier was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $70,650 bail.

He does not have a criminal history in Florida. But he was sentenced to a year in federal prison in Massachusetts in 1999 after he was convicted of charges related to selling cable television descramblers and descrambling kits that helped people get premium and pay-per-view channels without paying for them, according to federal court records and news reports.

Loux said the Largo Police Department was assisting the woman.

Times staff writer Lorri Helfand and researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report.

Human trafficking charges follow accusation Largo man used woman's addiction to painkillers to control her for months 06/22/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut

    Blogs

    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview

    Hurricanes

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) takes the field to start the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]