U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow Monday, sentenced Charles Mario Brown, Sr., age 48, of Baltimore, to seven years in federal prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Brown admitted that he operated a prostitution business involving a 16-year-old female, and at least four adult females, who performed commercial sex acts in the Baltimore area.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler.
“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring human traffickers to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “These violent criminals exploit our most vulnerable for profit and must be stopped.”
According to Brown’s plea agreement, Brown and his co-conspirator met a 16-year-old runaway (“Victim 1”) in November 2016, while she was walking in Baltimore. Brown and the co-conspirator directed Victim 1 to meet with sex customers who called or sent text messages in response to online prostitution advertisements featuring the victim, which were posted by the conspirators. The conspirators agreed to provide Victim 1 with food and a place to stay in exchange for money she earned through commercial sex acts, and bought her lingerie that she wore in photos taken for prostitution ads. Brown drove Victim 1 to outcalls, where Victim 1 engaged in commercial sex acts and collected payment. Brown and the co-conspirator directed Victim 1 to give them at least some of the proceeds from her commercial sex acts, and she did so.
On December 9, 2016, an undercover Harford County Sheriff’s Office detective contacted a phone number found in the cell phone of a deceased male sex customer A.G. (A.G. suffered a fatal heroin overdose in a hotel room in Edgewood, Maryland in the presence of one of Brown’s adult female sex workers.) The detective contacted the phone number to arrange an overnight commercial sex date at a hotel in Edgewood and to request heroin. At the co-conspirator’s request, Victim 1 communicated with the detective to make arrangements for the commercial sex date, which included taking $1,000 for the purchase of heroin after arriving at the hotel.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Brown and the co-conspirator transported Victim 1 and an adult female to the hotel. Victim 1 and the woman went into the hotel room identified by the detective. Investigators recognized Victim 1 from prostitution ads posted online, and Victim 1 identified herself by the name listed in those ads. Brown and his co-conspirator, who were waiting in the SUV outside the hotel room, were arrested and their cell phones were seized. Forensic examination of the cell phones revealed numerous communications in furtherance of the prostitution business.
This case was investigated by law enforcement agencies who are members of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. Members of the Task Force include federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/priorities_human.html. Suspected instances of human trafficking can be reported to HSI’s tip line at 866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
In addition, the case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “resources” tab on the left of the page.