A Minnesota man was sentenced Friday to 36 years in federal prison for sex trafficking three minor girls and for producing and receiving child pornography of two minor girls.
This sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker, District of Minnesota.
This case resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Anoka County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office, the Dakota County (Minnesota) Community Corrections, the St. Paul Police Department, and the Apple Valley (Minnesota) Police Department.
Deuvontay Shelby Charles, 22, was indicted on March 7, 2016, and on Dec. 14, 2016, was convicted by a federal jury on 20 of 23 counts.
As proven at trial, a concerned mother reached out to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in July 2015 to report that Charles, was recruiting her 17-year-old daughter to engage in prostitution.
In the defendant’s private messages, he described how her daughter could “make money” and promised travel to Las Vegas and that “life will be smooth sailing.”
He told her that he would provide condoms and protect her from the “clients.” Charles also instructed her to call him “Daddy.”
That initial report led to law enforcement identifying additional juvenile victims. A 14-year-old girl identified that Charles had requested sexually explicit images of her. Between July 2 and July 4, 2015, eight images displaying the child’s genitals were sent online to Charles.
As proven at trial, Charles also sent two pornographic images of an adult female and instructed the 14-year-old victim to send pictures of herself in those similar sexual poses.
Another 14-year-old victim was identified who was trafficked by Charles and who Charles used to produce sexually explicit images in July 2015.
Charles asked the victim to make a video of herself engaged in sexual acts. Charles also recruited that victim to engage in prostitution activity for him, asking if she wanted “to make money.”
When asked what he meant, Charles replied “sex.” Knowing she was only 14 years old, Charles responded that while she is “kinda young,” there would be a lot of money to make.
As proven at trial, Charles also sent messages to another 17-year-old victim about making “quick money.”
On Aug. 21, 2015, Charles picked up the victim in Blaine, Minnesota, posted her as an “escort” on backpage.com, and trafficked her through Aug. 26, 2015.
Charles made her available for commercial sex acts at a hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota, in a room he paid for in cash and registered for under a different name. As proven at trial, Charles received money from the victim as a result of the sex acts that he arranged for her.
As proven at trial, when he committed these offenses, Charles was a registered sex offender based on a 2014 conviction in Dakota County for soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct.
“Deuvontay Charles repeatedly victimized and abused vulnerable young girls with no remorse or acceptance of responsibility for his crimes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker.
“Today, the court sentenced Charles to thirty-six years in prison and justice has been served for the victims, their families and the community. Importantly, through the dedicated efforts of law enforcement, he cannot harm another girl.”
“This case represents another successful collaborative effort by law enforcement to help victims and lock up bad guys,” said James Stuart, Anoka County Sheriff.
“The trafficker’s evil actions are motivated by greed and show his willingness to destroy the lives of others for profit. This crime must continue to be brought into the open, pursued aggressively and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“We are very happy to continue being a part of that process!”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino, District of Minnesota.