Federal investigators and police in Michigan made a horrific discovery while looking into a case involving identification fraud, Click on Detroit reports.
Authorities were originally investigating Ryon Lenell Travis for allegedly charging more than $50,000 to a local business's credit card. But what West Bloomfield, Mich., police uncovered upon executing a search warrant at Travis' home was far worse: apparent sexual abuse and sex trafficking, and a cellphone filled with photographs of child pornography.
When authorities entered the home, they found three women whom Travis called his "wives"; one woman was chained up in the living room.
"There was a third woman chained at the neck to the stripper pole, sitting in the living room," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said. "She had a chain around her neck with a padlock on the chain and then a longer chain that connected her to the stripper pole."
One woman who spoke to Click on Detroit said that she was actually one of four wives. Investigators believe that two of the women found in the house are victims of human trafficking. The woman who was chained to the pole told investigators that Travis sold her and other women online for sex.
"She said that the defendant posted advertisements online and in chat rooms that he had four girls for sale," said Woodward. "And she said that if she or the other women refused to dance or perform sex acts, the defendant would be violent with them, and that he would hit them with a closed fist, kick them or push them down."
As for the child-pornography photos found on Travis' phone, those showed a 5-year-old girl, reportedly Travis' own daughter, being sexually abused by an adult male, investigators say.
Authorities are now calling the home a "house of horrors."
Travis, who identified himself as a "sovereign citizen," demanded that all charges against him be dropped.
"My point is that all laws are commercial in nature and I am a natural-born human of the American land," Travis said. "Since all laws are commercial in nature and I choose not to do business with this court, I ask that this case be dismissed."
That request was denied, and Travis is now being held without bond. In a criminal complaint filed March 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, he was charged with possessing, producing and distributing child pornography as well as sex trafficking.
Read more at Click on Detroit.