California Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Sex Trafficking Charges in New Mexico
Defendant, who is being Prosecuted under Project Safe Childhood, Faces Term of Imprisonment within the Range of 15 to 25 Years
ALBUQUERQUE – Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III announced today that Cordny Henry, 31, of Oakland, Calif., pleaded guilty yesterday evening to federal sex trafficking charges. Henry entered the guilty plea in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., shortly after a jury had been impaneled and as the trial on a two-count second superseding indictment charging him with federal child sex trafficking offenses was about to commence.
During yesterday evening’s change of plea hearing, Henry pled guilty to the two-count superseding indictment under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The first count of the indictment charged Henry with recruiting and enticing a 13-year-old victim to engage in commercial sex acts by use of force, fraud and coercion in Bernalillo County, N.M., from Sept. 2, 2015 through Sept. 12, 2015. The second count charged Henry with transporting the 13-year-old victim in interstate commerce for the purpose of having the victim engage in prostitution.
The plea agreement recommends that Henry be sentence to a term of imprisonment within the range of 15 to 25 years followed by ten to 20 years of supervised release. Henry also will be required to register as a sex offender after his release from prison. The plea agreement also requires the imposition of a money judgment against Henry in the amount of $10,000 and that Henry pay restitution to the victim of his criminal conduct. Henry has been in federal custody since his arrest on April 8, 2016, and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Henry in Nevada on April 8, 2016, on a criminal complaint filed in New Mexico that charged him with federal child sex trafficking offenses. Henry subsequently was transferred to New Mexico to face the charges against him. According to the criminal complaint, the 13-year-old victim ran away from her home in Albuquerque on Sept. 2, 2015, and was found in California on Sept. 12, 2015, after having been sex trafficked in both Albuquerque and Los Angeles. The investigation, which was initiated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and later included the FBI, revealed that Henry was the “pimp” who sex trafficked the victim and transported her to California. It also revealed that Juanita Williams, 29, of Pittsburgh, Calif., aided and abetted Henry in committing these offenses.
The FBI and BCSO previously had arrested Williams on March 15, 2016, on a criminal complaint on charges similar to those filed against Henry. On March 23, 2016, a federal grand jury filed an indictment charging Williams with a child sex trafficking offense. On April 26, 2016, the indictment charging Williams was superseded to add Henry as a defendant. The indictment was superseded a second time on Jan. 11, 2018, to add the second count of transporting the victim in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual activity against Henry.
Williams entered a guilty plea on April 28, 2017, to a felony information charging her with being an accessory after the fact to sex trafficking. In entering the guilty plea, Williams admitted that on March 16, 2016, she aided and abetted Henry in avoiding apprehension and prosecution for sex trafficking of a minor by providing false information during a law enforcement interview. At sentencing, which yet to be scheduled, Williams faces up to 15 years of imprisonment followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Ghost Unit, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah J. Mease and Nicholas Jon Ganjei are prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc/.