A Portland man who worked with a Boston pimp to recruit young women from Maine to prostitute them here and in Massachusetts was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to four years in prison.

Samuel Gravely, 28, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen on Nov. 20, 2013, rather than go to trial on a charge of aiding and abetting interstate transportation of women for prostitution.

Gravely then testified against his childhood friend Fritz Blanchard, 29, of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, at Blanchard’s trial in August, helping to convict him on an identical interstate prostitution charge.

Gravely admitted at Blanchard’s trial that he testified against his friend in hope of a more lenient sentence.

The judge on Tuesday also sentenced Gravely to three years of supervised release after completion of his term in federal prison.

Gravely testified that Blanchard encouraged him to advertise his girlfriend from Presque Isle on a website for prostitution, and accompanied Gravely and the girlfriend when they pimped her twice in Bangor in March 2013.

“He knew a new way to make money besides just selling drugs,” Gravely testified, recalling his conversations with Blanchard in 2012 and 2013. “He told me that prostitution was the new way, that there was money to be made in it.”

On March 27, 2013, Blanchard and Gravely brought the Presque Isle woman to Portland, where they recruited another young woman with dirty clothes and a black eye from the street, Gravely’s girlfriend testified.

After pimping the two women for one night in Portland through ads posted on backpage.com, the men picked up another juvenile girl from the street on March 28, after persuading her to join them for a road trip to Boston and possibly beyond, Gravely and his girlfriend testified.

In Boston, the men checked the women into a hotel on Huntington Avenue. Gravely’s girlfriend testified that Blanchard told her when they got to the Boston hotel not to tell the juvenile girl that they were prostitutes. But she said that Gravely, whom she knew by the nickname “Bigs,” told her to explain to the juvenile girl what was happening.

The Press Herald is not identifying the women or the juvenile because they are considered victims in the case and have not been charged with any crimes.

Gravely’s girlfriend testified that the juvenile girl was suffering from symptoms of opiate withdrawal on the drive to Boston and began crying when the men would not get her drugs.

The juvenile girl did not know she was expected to be a prostitute when she first got in the car with the men, then feigned illness and managed to slip away at the Boston hotel to call police.

Blanchard is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 16. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: scottddolan

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