Virginia Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking 15-Year-Old Girl
A Virginia man was sentenced today to 144 months in prison to be followed by a 20-year term of supervised release for sex trafficking of a minor.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr. Chief of the Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Department made the announcement.
Derek Leon Mantilla, 21, formerly of Fairfax, Virginia, pleaded guilty on April 19, 2016, and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia. Mantilla will be required to register as a sex offender.
In connection with his plea, Mantilla admitted that from at least November 2014 through February 2015, he, together with Ismael Antonio Mendez and Caitlyn Ann Smith, recruited a 15-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts to pay off a debt that Mendez owed to Mantilla. The defendants taught the girl how to prostitute, took photos of her to use in advertisements and created and posted internet advertisements for commercial sex. The co-conspirators knew that the girl was a minor and instructed her to lie about her age to customers. Over a three-month period, the co-conspirators traveled with the girl throughout Virginia, in New York and every state in between for the purposes of advertising and engaging the girl in prostitution. During that period, the defendants prostituted the girl every day, with an average of 10 to 12 customers a night until she earned enough to repay Mendez’s debt, at which point the co-conspirators directed her to leave.
Mendez and Smith have pleaded guilty. On March 18, 2016, Mendez was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 16, 2016.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Fairfax County Police Department investigated the case. Trial Attorney Lauren Britsch of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Dougherty Russell of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.
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.justice.gov/psc.