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Laurel residents sentenced for running D.C. teen prostitution ring

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Local,Crime,Ben Giles

Two Laurel residents were sentenced Friday to multi-year prison terms for running a prostitution ring with a minor, the U.S. Attorney's office announced.

Dominque Emanuel Bell, 22, was sentenced to seven years in jail, and Candice Ponder, 26, was sentenced to four years for the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Both defendants were also sentenced to three years of supervised release following their prison terms, and must register as sex offenders.

Through a website operated by Bell and Ponder, the FBI and D.C. police discovered two D.C. teenagers, ages 16 and 19, who would have sex with customers in a hotel rooms throughout the District as arranged by Bell and Ponder.

In between the arranged "dates," Bell and Ponder provided the teens with marijuana and ecstasy, according to authorities.

Bell and Ponder were arrested in July, when the FBI executed a search warrant on their Laurel home and recovered cell phones, hotel keys, marijuana, PCP and weapons. Authorities also found another young woman at the home.

The investigation was a part of a national initiative executed by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force.

bgiles@washingtonexaminer.com

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