Crime

Bellingham police suspect man known as ‘Flossy Jeff’ of pimping woman out of motel

Police suspect a man with a lengthy criminal history that includes convictions for murder and child rape of going under the nickname “Flossy Jeff” and pimping a woman out of the Bellingham Motel 6.

Bellingham police booked Tony Lee Combs, 40, into Whatcom County Jail on Friday, Oct. 18, on suspicion of second-degree promoting prostitution for profit.

According to the probable cause statement filed in Whatcom County Superior Court on Oct. 9, Combs has previous convictions for second-degree murder in 1995, third-degree child rape in 2002, second-degree assault in 2013, witness tampering in 2005 and failure to register as a sex offender in 2018, among others.

Combs’ murder conviction stems from his role in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl in a South Seattle flophouse when he provided a gun and drove a car for two other teens, according to a 1995 Seattle Times story.

Bellingham police began investigating Combs, who also is known as “Flossy Jeff,” July 24 for promoting prostitution after receiving a tip that he was pimping a woman out of a room at the Bellingham Motel 6, court documents state.

Investigators found an online advertisement under the name “Sarah Love,” along with prices, a description and a phone number potential customers were supposed to text to get pictures, according to documents.

Officers reached out and arranged a date at the Bellingham Oxford Suites, documents said, and Combs was seen leaving the Motel 6 with a woman approximately a half-hour before the arranged time.

Police contacted Combs and the woman, whose name was marked out in the court documents. She told investigators that she was Combs’ business partner and that she entertains clients for “donations,” documents state.

The woman also reportedly confirmed to police that after performing sex acts, she would receive money ranging from $80 to $250 and give all the money to Combs or his “baby mama,” and that the arrangement had been occurring off and on since February.

The woman also told police that Combs gave her cash to rent the Motel 6 room every day and that she waited in the room for Combs to contact her and tell her when a client was arriving for sex, documents state. Sometimes, she said, Combs would pick her up and take her to clients’ homes for sex.

At the time he was stopped by police, Combs was found to have $250 cash, a sex toy and torn piece of paper with the name “Jeffery” and a phone number on it, documents said. After getting a search warrant for his gold Hyundai Santa Fe, police also found a cell phone and prostitution ledgers with locations, times, client phone numbers and money amounts.

Investigators found that Combs’ cell phone made numerous calls to the number associated with the online sex ad between February and July and with more than 60 other phone numbers that also had communicated with the phone number associated with the sex ad, court records show.

Combs’ phone records also showed heavy activity in Blaine, Bellingham and as far south as Seattle — locations the woman told police she provided sex acts for money at the direction of Combs.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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