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Press Release

18th Street Gang Member Sentenced for Prostituting 15-Year-Old Girl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. –Derek Leon Mantilla, 21, an 18th Street Gang member formerly of Fairfax, was sentenced today to 144 months in prison for sex trafficking of a minor.  Mantilla was also sentenced to 20 years of supervised release and ordered to register as a sex offender upon release from prison.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Mantilla admitted that from at least November 2014 through February 2015, that he, 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 was owed to Mantilla by Mendez.  The adults taught the girl how to prostitute, took photos of her to use in advertisements, and created advertisements for commercial sex that were posted on the Internet.  The three adults knew the girl was a minor and instructed her to lie about her age to customers.  Over a three month period, the adults traveled with the girl through various states, including Virginia, for the purposes of advertising and engaging the girl in commercial sex.  During that period, the girl worked seven days a week and saw an average of 10 to 12 customers a night.  Once the girl had earned enough to pay off the debt, the Mantilla directed her to leave the adults, and she did. Co-defendants Ismael Antonio Mendez and Caitlyn Ann Smith previously pleaded guilty in the case. 

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Dougherty Russell and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Britsch 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 please visit Project Safe Childhood.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-cr-91.

Updated July 8, 2016

Human Trafficking