FBI: Truckers ran kidnapping for ransom scheme targeting women in multiple states

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two truck drivers are the center of a national FBI investigation.

The FBI said Brian Summerson, 25, and Pierre Washington, 35, ran a kidnapping for ransom scheme targeting women across multiple states from around June 2019 to January 2021.

The federal indictment reveals there are two known victims from Georgia and New Jersey.

However, the FBI said it’s concerned there could be more victims out there.

The agency is asking anyone who has met the suspects to come forward.

Investigators said Summerson’s primary route was from New Jersey to Miami along I-95, which means he regularly passed through Nassau, Duval and St. Johns Counties.

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The FBI said Summerson would tell potential victims his name was Von or Vaughn.

According to federal documents, Summerson would coerce victims into working as prostitutes for Washington.

If the victim refused, then the suspects would demand ransom for their return.

The FBI said in January 2020, Summerson kidnapped a woman in Savannah, GA and made ransom demands to her mother who lived in Memphis, TN.

The victim’s mother contacted the FBI after receiving a ransom video call from her daughter who claimed she was kidnapped.

The mother said her daughter had visible injuries to her face. The criminal complaint said Summerson demanded $2,000 be deposited into a Cash App account called “$leemoney123456.”

The document said he threatened to kill the victim if he didn’t receive the payment.

As agents spoke to the victim’s mother at the FBI headquarters in Memphis, TN, she continued to receive ransom phone calls through Facebook messenger.

Investigators traced the Cash App account back to Summerson’s phone number and email.

Agents pinged the suspect’s phone to Florence, South Carolina.

Investigative efforts uncovered a description of Summerson’s semi-truck and the license plate information.

Authorities with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office found the semi in a business parking lot.

When deputies asked Summerson to step out to speak with them, the victim screamed for help.

The report said Summerson got into a scuffle with deputies, but was taken into custody.

Investigators said the victim had injuries on her face and was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

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Court records reveal Summerson was also arrested in Daytona Beach in Jan. 2021 for battery causing bodily harm, false imprisonment, and tampering with a witness calling 911.

He was released from jail March 26. His attorney for that case sent Action News Jax this statement:

“Mr. Summerson is presumed to be innocent until the facts prove otherwise. We believe that the facts in our case don’t support the allegations made against him and intend to demonstrate that at the appropriate time.” -Tammy Jaques