Two men plead guilty to pimping teenage girls

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Local,Crime,Ben Giles

Two men pleaded guilty to pimping young girls they recruited and then offered online for sexual acts, in some cases tattooing their own names on the teens, U.S. attorneys announced.

D.C. resident Melvin Douglas, 32, and Capitol Heights resident Dennis Smith, 31, both pleaded guilty Thursday to transporting a minor across state lines to engage in prostitution, according to U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

Smith also pleaded guilty in a separate case to sex trafficking of a minor, authorities said.

Douglas recruited a 15-year-old runaway from Prince William County listed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to work as his prostitute in September 2011, advertising her online for sexual services and driving her to hotels in Maryland for work, according to court records.

Authorities organized a "date" with the teen at the Quality Inn in College Park, located at the corner of Baltimore Avenue and Calvert Road, where they observed Douglas leaving a hotel room before confronting him while he sat in a black SUV in the hotel parking lot, court documents show.

Douglas admitted to pimping the girl through advertisements on Backpage.com and having sex with her on multiple occasions, according to authorities.

The 15-year-old girl told officers she'd been recruited by Douglas about a month after running away from home, and acted as his prostitute. Douglas even took her to a tattoo parlor and had his first name tattooed on her chest, court records show.

Smith met a 16-year-old girl on the social networking site Tagged.com and recruited her to come with him and two adult prostitutes on a trip to Richmond in October 2011, according to court documents.

In February 2012, Smith picked up the same 16-year-old girl and a 15-year-old teen from their high school and took them to his home to advertise them online, court records show.

Authorities found the postings and set up a "date" at a hotel in New Carrollton, where they found Smith with the 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl. Smith admitted to advertising the teens for sexual acts online and arranging meetings with customers in New Carrollton and Richmond, according to prosecutors.

Police seized several cellphones and a laptop from the hotel room, as well as tattoo equipment that Smith used to tattoo his nickname, Domo, on the 15-year-old and 16-year-old girls, according to court records.

If the court accepts his plea, Douglas will be sentenced to 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 4.

Smith faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2.

bgiles@washingtonexaminer.com

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