A 20-year-old Lauderhill man was convicted of sex trafficking of minors after prosecutors said he lured young girls to work for him as prostitutes in exchange for his protection, the Department of Justice announced Monday.
Deangelo Jones was found guilty Thursday of two counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, according to the department. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 14.
He was arrested by Fort Lauderdale Police and the Feds.
"We were working another case with the FBI, conducting surveillance with them when DeAngelo Jones was stopped while attempting to prostitute a juvenile," Fort Lauderdale Police spokesman Det. Brice Brittenum said.
Officials said three victims, who were runaways between the ages of 12 and 14 at the time, testified that Jones prostituted them. Two of the girls said they engaged in sexual activity with the man hours after meeting him.
Evidence presented in court showed Jones paid others to rent hotel rooms in their names and then used the rooms to prostitute the girls. Jones’ customers, who found the girls listed on a website called Backpage.com, would then engage in sexual activity with one or more of the minors, the Department of Justice said.
"He would target them specifically so he could exploit them, and make money off of them by having them engage in sex for money with adult males," Brittenum said.
All of the earnings from the "dates" went to Jones, but one girl told prosecutors she tried to keep some of the money for herself.
After Jones found out she had $20, she said he beat her and stripped off her clothes in front of a room full of people, officials said.
"On one occasion, yes, he did in fact strip one of the young girls in order to embarrass her because she refused to turn over money to him," Brittenum said.