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Alleged Reno Pimp Indicted on Federal Charges of Transporting 15-year-old Girl from California to Reno for Prostitution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2013

Las Vegas, Nev. – An alleged pimp from the Reno area has been indicted by the federal grand jury on a sex trafficking charge for transporting a 15-year-old girl from Bakersfield, Calif. to Reno, Nev. to work as a prostitute, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Vernon McCullum III, aka “Fifth,” 20, of Reno, was indicted on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, and is charged with one count of illegal transportation of a minor for prostitution or other illegal sexual activity. If convicted, McCullum faces a minimum of 10 years to life in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. McCullum is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate judge in Reno today at 3:00 p.m. for an arraignment and plea.

According to the indictment and criminal complaint, on Jan. 10, 2013, the Bakersfield, California Police Department received a report of a missing 15-year-old girl and opened an investigation. The investigation revealed that an advertisement had been posted on the internet website “Myredbook.com” stating that an individual using the name “Babyfaith” was available for prostitution services. The telephone number listed in the advertisement was that of the missing girl. The investigation further revealed that two days earlier, on Jan. 8, 2013, in Bakersfield, the 15-year-old girl was introduced to McCullum by a female acquaintance who had been working for McCullum as a prostitute. On Jan. 9, 2013, McCullum drove the 15-year-old and the other female to a hotel room in Reno and directed the female acquaintance to take nude pictures of the 15-year-old, which were then uploaded onto the Myredbook.com website. Following the posting of the advertisement on the website, the 15-year-old engaged in prostitution at McCullum’s direction, and was required to provide proceeds of the prostitution activity to the female acquaintance who provided it to McCullum.

The case is being investigated by the Bakersfield Police Department and the Reno Police Department Street Enforcement Team, which includes the Sparks Police Department and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI, as part of their Innocence Lost Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carla B. Higginbotham.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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.

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