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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 22, 2016

Baltimore Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Commit Sex Trafficking of a Minor

Baltimore, Maryland – Derrel Pitts, a/k/a “Foolish,” age 27, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in connection with his prostituting of a minor female.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to court documents and statements at today’s plea hearing, from November 2014 through February 19, 2015, Pitts conspired with his “bottom” girl, a prostitute who also worked for Pitts, and others to commit sex trafficking of a 17 year old minor.  Specifically, Pitts admitted that he instructed the minor victim on pricing for different sexual activities and that he received a portion of the money the victim received from sex customers for performing commercial sex acts.

On February 18 through February 19, 2015, Pitts transported and arranged for the transportation of the minor victim to a motel on Joppa Road in Towson, Maryland, where he directed the victim to engage in commercial sex acts with customers.  Pitts rented the motel room and used, or allowed the victim to use, his cell phone to post photographs of the minor victim on an online website advertising her for prostitution and providing a telephone number where the victim could be reached for a “date,” or a commercial sex act.

On February 19, 2015, members of the Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force (MCETF), which included officers/agents from the Baltimore County Police and the Maryland State Police (MSP), rescued the victim at the motel in Towson after undercover officers made a “date” for prostitution with the victim, who directed them to her location.  Prior to entering the motel room, law enforcement observed Pitts walking away from the room and towards the front of the motel.

As a result of his guilty plea, Pitts will be required register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Pitts and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Pitts will be sentenced to between 78 and 96 months in prison followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release.  U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III has scheduled sentencing for August 18, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

The case was investigated by the FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force, created in 2010 to combat child prostitution, with members from10 state and federal law enforcement agencies.  The Task Force coordinates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit to identify missing children being advertised online for prostitution. 

MCETF partners with the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders.  Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members.  For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/priorities_human.html.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Baltimore County Police Department, Maryland State Police and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Ayn B. Ducao, who is prosecuting the case.

Topic: 
Human Trafficking
Updated April 22, 2016