Derwin Samuel Smith, age 42, of Glen Burnie, MD, pleaded guilty yesterday (March 8) to interstate transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution.
“The victim was rescued thanks to superb work by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “We hope that this prosecution sends a message to low-life criminals who prostitute children.”
According to his plea agreement, on June 7, 2010, members of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force recovered a 12-year-old girl, who had been reported missing and was believed to be involved in prostitution, from a motel room in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The child had called a relative from the motel room and investigation revealed that the motel room was registered to Smith. After officers arrived at the motel room, the child said that Smith told her that he would be back later that evening to have sex with her.
The child was taken to police headquarters and further identified Smith as the person who had picked her up on the street in Washington, D.C., paid for sexual services performed in the backseat of his car, and recruited her to work for him as a prostitute. According to the statement of facts, Smith then drove the girl to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where at Smith’s direction, she was paid to have sex with men over the weekend. The child gave Smith all of the money she earned.
In the meantime, officers waited at the motel until Smith arrived at the room. Smith was arrested and a search incident to his arrest recovered the key to the motel room where the girl was recovered. Smith later admitted picking up the victim in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening, taking her to Atlantic City, New Jersey over the weekend, and purchasing the motel room for her on Monday morning.
Smith faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, followed by up to lifetime supervised release. The government and the defendant have agreed that if the court accepts the plea agreement, Smith will be sentenced to 121 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled sentencing for May 11, 2011 at 9:15 a.m. Smith remains detained.
As part of his plea agreement, Smith must 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).
The case was investigated by 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.
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.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare, Sr.; Colonel Terrence Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Anne Arundel County Police Department, Maryland State Police, and Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel M. Yasser and Tonya Kelly Kowitz, who are prosecuting the case.