A man accused of taking two women and a girl from Portland to Boston earlier this year to prostitute them has been charged with a federal crime.

Fritz Blanchard, 28, of Boston, was arrested Tuesday in Massachusetts by U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents and turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service on a warrant issued from U.S. District Court in Portland. He is charged with transportation in interstate commerce for prostitution.

Blanchard is expected to appear in federal court in Boston to determine whether he should be detained further before being brought to federal court in Portland.

Detailed court records about the case against Blanchard remain under seal by order of Judge John Woodcock Jr. in Maine, but the one-page complaint against Blanchard is nearly identical to a complaint against a Portland man, Samuel Gravely, who has pleaded guilty to the same offense. The prosecutor in both cases, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Fisk Malone, declined to comment on how Blanchard’s case is related to Gravely’s.

When Gravely, 27, pleaded guilty Nov. 20, Malone filed a document that day explaining the accusations against Gravely and a second man identified only as “his male associate.”

Gravely and the other man picked up a girl identified in court records only as “Minor A” on Congress Street in Portland on March 28. The men then picked up the two women, identified as “Adult B” and “Adult C,” at a hotel in Portland and drove all of them to another hotel on Huntington Avenue in Boston, Malone said in the court filing.

“At the hotel on Huntington Avenue, A, B and C went up to the rented room to get ready. A asked what they were getting ready for. B and C asked A if she knew what was going on and they told A that they worked as escorts,” Malone wrote.

The minor girl feigned illness after being told by one of the men that she was expected to have sex with strangers for money and that the men would keep the money. She then managed to separate herself from the others and call the police, the court filing states.

Gravely is scheduled to be sentenced in March and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Blanchard faces the same maximum sentence if he is convicted.

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

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