An Orlando resident was sentenced today to serve life plus five years in prison for forcing multiple minor and adult victims to engage in prostitution, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida Robert E. O’Neill.
Weylin O. Rodriguez, 29, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven in the Middle District of Florida. In addition to his prison term, Rodriguez was sentenced to serve lifetime supervised release.
On Nov. 2, 2012, Rodriguez was found guilty by a federal jury of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud and coercion; using a firearm in furtherance of a sex trafficking crime; transporting minors over state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution through coercion and enticement; and being a felon in possession of a firearm
According to evidence presented at trial, in December 2010, Rodriguez met a 15-year-old minor in Ybor City, Fla. Rodriguez offered to give the minor a ride home, but instead of taking her home, he drove her to Orlando and forced her to engage in prostitution.
The investigation revealed that beginning on Thanksgiving Day 2010, Rodriguez held two other female victims for several months and forced them into prostitution. In approximately January 2011, Rodriguez transported the girls between Orlando and Charlotte, N.C. for the purpose of prostitution.
In addition to the minors, Rodriguez recruited at least two adult victims by promising them jobs as models. Once the girls met with Rodriguez, he held them against their will and forced them into prostitution.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the Orlando Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff's Office and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacie B. Harris of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorney Maureen Cain of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.