Two people accused of prostituting a teenage girl pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of conspiracy to engage in the sex trafficking of a minor.
Charles H. Castillo, 32, and Shelica J. Daniels, 26, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Augusta. The crime is punishable by as much as life in prison. Sentencing will be scheduled after background reports are prepared.
FBI special agent Charles McKee testified Monday that his Augusta office received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Aug. 26 that an online prostitution ad might be featuring a juvenile.
That same day, agents called and texted the number in the ad and set up a “date,” McKee testified. An undercover agent was sent to the meeting at Castillo’s Harold Street apartment. There, in addition to Castillo and his girlfriend, agents found a 16-year-old girl.
The teen told agents that she had been engaging in sex for money since Aug. 13, first for Daniels and later for Castillo; both had set up the online ads offering her services.
McKee testified that the girl would meet five or six men a day. Each date cost hundreds of dollars, he said.
The girl was never advertised as a minor, but Castillo and Daniels admitted they knew she was underage.
Castillo and Daniels will remain in custody pending sentencing.
The same charges are pending against three others in the case: William W. Hart, Heather L. Hedrick and Allison Barnes. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.