Two Biddeford natives are in the sentencing stages of a federal sex trafficking case. Both have pleaded guilty to the charges, though one appears to have cooperated with prosecutors in order to receive a better deal.
The allegations highlight the extent of the federal government’s resources and illustrate just how networking between different federal agencies can lead to evidence for serious federal charges.
According to the court records, a 23-year-old native of Biddeford connected with a 15-year-old girl online. The next day, they went to a house in Bangor where it was decided that the girl would make money by providing sexual favors.
The Biddeford man paid for a hotel room in Bangor where the 15-year-old and another adult woman met multiple clients. The 15-year-old paid the Biddeford man one-third of the money.
The Biddeford man drove the 15-year-old girl to another motel in Scarborough, which was paid for by the man’s mother. The 15-year-old used the Scarborough motel for more sexual acts and communicated with the man’s mother via text message.
The Biddeford man was arrested in August 2018 and pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor in January 2019. His mother was charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking but pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of using a facility of interstate commerce with the intent to promote prostitution in March 2019.
According to the Department of Justice, the investigations and arrests were done by the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) in the District of Maine.
The Biddeford man was sentenced to nine years in jail, plus five years of supervised release. He will also have to pay restitution to the girl.
The sex trafficking allegations and convictions came from a federal initiative to crack down on human trafficking. Originally formed in 2011, the ACTeam brought federal agents and prosecutors from several of the biggest federal agencies together, including:
Phase I of the initiative focused on six cities in the U.S.:
In the first year of the program, the number of sex trafficking cases in these areas more than doubled, leading the agencies to move on to Phase II of the federal initiative, covering six more metropolitan areas:
Federal charges like these are serious, both because of the potentially steep penalties on the table for a federal conviction and because federal prosecutors have extensive resources to find evidence supporting the allegation. These charges can happen anywhere, not just in major cities.
The criminal defense lawyers at Maine Criminal Defense Group know this and strive to defend locals against serious federal allegations. Contact us online or call our law office in Biddeford at (207) 571-8146.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
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