Gang members plead guilty in NoVa sex-trafficking ring

Two of the five gang members arrested last month on charges related to a Virginia sex-trafficking ring have pleaded guilty for their roles in recruiting and trafficking high school-age girls for prostitution.

Michael Tavon Jefferies, 23, and Christopher Sylvia, 21, both pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking a juvenile in federal court in Alexandria on Thursday. They face anywhere from a minimum 10 years to life in prison.

Both men were members of the Fairfax County-based set of the Underground Gangster Crips and had trafficked juveniles and adults with other gang members. Jefferies admitted to serving as a bodyguard and collecting money for prostitution, and Sylvia admitted to assisting with the transportation of the prostitutes, according to the Virginia attorney general’s office.

Members of the gang recruited underage girls through various means, including approaching them outside high schools, at Metro stations and on websites such as Craigslist and Facebook. They also drugged, beat and used other forms of intimidation to keep the girls from leaving once they were recruited, according to court papers.

Fairfax County police and the FBI began investigating the sex-trafficking ring in November 2011 but had been looking into incidents related to the case as early as April 2009, according to court papers.

Jefferies is scheduled to be sentenced July 6, and Sylvia is set for sentencing July 20.

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