A Dallas man, who sex-trafficked a run-away 15-year-old girl for money, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.
Dereck Johnson, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking children. If the Court accepts the plea agreement executed between the defendant and the government, the parties agree the appropriate term of imprisonment in this case is 15 years in federal prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 15 before U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey.
According to documents filed in the case, on June 1, 2012, a 15-year old girl, "Jane Doe," took $200 from her father before spending the night at a friend's house. While there, she asked a friend to drive her to a Greyhound station where she bought a ticket, with several transfers, to Arizona where a friend lived. Her bus stopped at the Greyhound station in downtown Dallas, where Johnson approached her. Jane Doe told Johnson she was 15 and that her parents did not know where she was. Johnson told her to go with him, and he would help her find Wi-Fi for her phone. Instead, he called a friend who picked them up and eventually took them to his home.
While at the house, Johnson used methamphetamine and provided it to Jane Doe. When Johnson's friend came home and discovered Jane Doe was underage, he made them leave. He drove them back to the Greyhound bus station where Johnson and Jane Doe took a taxi to a Flying J Truck stop. There, they got a ride from a truck driver to a Love's truck stop near another Greyhound station in Dallas. At that bus station, Jane Doe used a Greyhound employees' cellphone to call her father to come pick her up, but she was unable to describe exactly where she was. She rushed off the phone and Johnson was waiting for her. He told her not to contact her father again, that she was staying with him, and she needed to come with him. Jane Doe's father called the number back and spoke to a Greyhound employee who told him Jane Doe had left with a man.
Johnson took Jane Doe back to the Love's truck stop with him, where he begged for money. Johnson found a truck driver who was willing to drive them to Houston. Johnson told Jane Doe they needed to make money so she needed to go into a specific man's truck cab. After entering the man's truck cab, the man repeatedly raped her and then provided compensation for the sex.
A few days later, on June 5, 2012, Johnson sent her to take a shower, and while she was in the bathroom at the truck stop, she plugged in her prepaid cellphone and was able to send out a text message for the first time since arriving at the truck stop. She was rescued soon thereafter.
This guilty plea was announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cara Foos Pierce, Northern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.