A New York man has pleaded guilty to federal sex trafficking charges involving a minor who was found by police at a Harford County hotel where prosecutors say she was being forced to participate in the commercial sex trade.
Marcell Greene, 28, of Wyandanch, N.Y., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore Thursday to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and to sex trafficking of a minor, according to the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office.
According to his plea agreement, from February through April 2015, Greene and a co-defendant, who is awaiting trial, allegedly advertised a 16-year-old female on computer websites for commercial sex acts and transported her from New York to hotels in Virginia and Maryland to allegedly engage in commercial sex acts.
On April 12, 2015, according to prosecutors, the victim called 911 from a hotel in Harford County. The agreed to statement of facts between prosecutors and Greene and his lawyer identifies the hotel as the Homewood Suites in the 4000 block of Philadelphia Road, which is in the Bel Air 21015 ZIP code near the I-95/Route 543 Riverside interchange.
The victim told responding members of the Harford County Sheriff's Office and Department of Social Services that Greene and another man allegedly had taken her from New York to Virginia and Maryland to engage in commercial sex acts, according to the statement of facts.
On the day the victim called police, she had something thrown at her for refusing to perform a specific sex act, prosecutors said. Police and a child protective services worker saw swelling and bruising to the victim's right check and right temple, according to the statement of facts.
The investigation revealed that Greene registered and paid for hotel rooms in several locations where the victim performed the sex acts, prosecutors said. Witnesses identified Greene as being in the area where the victim was engaging in the acts, and investigators uncovered texts between Greene and the co-defendant discussing commercial sex, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
According to the statement of facts, the victim told prosecutors she had engaged in a variety of sex acts "with well over 100 men during the last few weeks."
The hotel manager on duty at the time of the victim's recovery by police identified Greene from a photo array as the person seen leaving the hotel with another man who approached the victim as she was making the 911 call, according to the statement of facts.
The hotel room where the victim was staying when law enforcement was called was registered to a man since identified as Raymond Idemudia Aigbekaen, according to the statement of facts in the Green plea agreement.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office said Friday that Aigbekaen is in federal custody pending a trial set for Sept. 12, in Baltimore U.S. District Court.
According to online court records, Greene and Aigbekaen were indicted Aug. 25, 2015 on single counts of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy related to interstate prostitution, sex trafficking, interstate transportation for prostitution, enticement to travel interstate for purposes of prostitution and use of interstate facilities to promote enterprise involving a prostitution offense.
The statement of facts appended to Greene's plea states that evidence collected by investigators included "geotagged" photos found in a search of a laptop computer belonging to Aigbekaen and cell site location data that placed the victim and Greene in the vicinity of hotels in Maryland and Virginia "where the victim was engaging in commercial sex acts."
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As part of his plea agreement, Greene must register as a sex offender in the place where he lives, where he is an employee and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office
Greene faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for sex trafficking of a minor, and up to life in prison for the conspiracy, each followed by up to lifetime of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled Green's sentencing for Oct. 14.
The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders, investigated this case, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Task force members 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, visitwww.justice.gov/usao/md/priorities_human.html.
Report suspected instances of human trafficking to HSI's tip line at 866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or by completing its online tip form. Investigators staff both around the clock.