Public Safety

Cedar Rapids felon faces human trafficking charges in South Carolina

Trafficking incidents happened while man on probation in Linn

Mark Spicer
Mark Spicer

A Cedar Rapids man who skipped the state after being granted bond despite protests from prosecutors now faces human trafficking charges in South Carolina.

Mark Cortez Spicer, 23, was arrested Saturday in Myrtle Beach on assault, third-degree battery, being a fugitive and trafficking in humans in connection with a 16-year-old girl being advertised on the internet for sex acts, according police reports.

Phylicia Marie King was also arrested in Iowa this week for her involvement in the trafficking and is being extradited back to Myrtle Beach, according to the Myrtle Beach Police Department. King isn’t listed in Iowa’s courts database, and police haven’t released further details.

The Myrtle Beach department began its investigation Aug. 16, according to arrests warrants. Spicer, King and the 16-year-old arrived in the Myrtle Beach area Aug. 13 and were staying at hotel. They posted sex ads online for the 16-year-old, and she had sex with a man for money that day, the warrant affidavits state.

Spicer and King also took the girl to a Walmart on Aug. 14 where money was exchanged for promised sex acts. The money was used by Spicer, King and the girl for food, gas and hotel expenses, according to police.

Police said the three traveled from Iowa to Chicago, then to Nashville and Atlanta, before coming to Myrtle Beach.

The 16-year-old told police Spicer was aware that she was performing sex acts, according to the warrants. The girl said the money was to support them during their trip. Spicer was in Linn County District Court in May on an application to revoke his probation on two deferred judgments for burglary charges. He had more than one violation because the probation office discovered he left the state and was charged in Illinois for drugs, serving time in prison while on probation in Linn County.

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First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks asked a judge to hold Spicer without bond pending the hearing.

Maybanks said Wednesday that Spicer has a lengthy criminal history of burglaries, theft, domestic assaults and forgery, as well as a history of skipping out on bond and probation. The office started a policy this year, asking the court for to deny bond in cases, like Spicer’s, when there are numerous probation violations, a history of escape or fleeing, and for crimes that are more serious or violent.

Maybanks also said Spicer has previous convictions in other counties for assaults, domestic abuse, burglaries and thefts.

A report filed with the court in May shows officers recommending that his probation be revoked and the sentencing on the burglary charges be imposed.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Mitchell Turner, however, granted Spicer a $5,000 bond, pending the hearing, which Spicer paid June 1 and went missing sometime in July.

Court records show probation officers went to his hotel, where he was living at the time, and couldn’t find him. An employee at the hotel said he checked out before July 26.

Myrtle Beach police also show Spicer is wanted in Illinois for a probation violation, according to court documents.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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