CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There was a major fall from grace for an American soldier turned convicted criminal.

A federal jury found Xavier Boston guilty of running a sex trafficking operation in Charlotte over several years. Prosecutors say he targeted vulnerable, young women with opioid addictions.

It all came to light after NBC Charlotte highlighted Boston on a happy occasion in a recent news story.

Last year, he received a hero’s welcome during a surprise visit to his daughter's classroom. However, now there’s been a dramatic turn of events.

Boston is trading in his military uniform for a mugshot. Instead of being described as a military hero, federal prosecutors are calling him “a predator”.

The former soldier was convicted of running a sex trafficking operation in Charlotte between 2012 and 2017, except for a brief time when he was deployed overseas.

“The care packages, the support, the things people send you, it makes the deployment easier,” Boston said at the time.

All the while, federal prosecutors say Boston had recruited victims, who were struggling with drug addictions. The U.S. Attorney on the case said Boston “preyed upon young vulnerable women, exploiting their drug addictions and forcing them to engage in prostitution for his own profit.”

Authorities say without the drugs, the victims would experience excruciating physical and mental pain from withdrawal. Boston withheld their drugs until after they completed commercial sex acts.

Federal prosecutors said, “Xavier Boston promised his victims a better life. Instead, he robbed them of their civil rights and freedom to make a profit, now he will pay the price.”

Evidence also showed Boston used violent acts to control the victims. That includes cases of choking and punching one victim and even breaking one victim’s nose by striking her with a gun.

After a three day trial, Boston was convicted of one count of using an interstate facility to promote prostitution enterprise. He was also found guilty of six counts of sex trafficking.

Each count of sex trafficking comes with a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. At this point, no date has been set for sentencing.

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