Reno, Nevada - A California man who recruited and used a 16-year-old girl to work as a prostitute was sentenced today to a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Carlos Rodriguez Navarrette, aka Carlos Alberto Navarrette, aka DJ Junior, 23, of Los Angeles, California, who pleaded guilty in November 2013 to one count of sex trafficking of a minor, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Miranda M. Du. Following his release from prison, Navarrette will also be placed on lifetime supervised release and must register as a sex offender.
“According to the defendant’s own admissions, he knew the victim was a minor, but he recruited and enticed her to work for him anyway,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “The U.S. Department of Justice will use tough federal laws to prosecute you if you knowingly disregard the fact that you are using a minor to engage in commercial sex acts.”
According to the plea agreement, on June 11, 2013, Navarrette met the 16-year-old girl at a casino in Reno and recruited her to work as a prostitute. Navarrette posted a prostitution advertisement on the website myredbook.com, which included photos of the 16-year-old. From about June 11 to June 13, 2013, Navarrette paid for hotel rooms and food for the girl and arranged for her to engage in approximately four to five commercial sex acts. After the 16-year-old engaged in the sex acts, she was required to provide the money she earned to Navarrette.
Investigators with the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force came across the website advertisement while they were attempting to locate a woman who had been reported missing in California, as the telephone number in the advertisement was the same as the missing woman’s. An undercover investigator made arrangements to meet the girl at a Reno motel for sex. When the investigator arrived at the motel, Navarrette and an adult female directed the investigator to the 16-year-old girl, who was lying on the bed partially undressed.
The investigation was conducted by the Innocence Lost Task Force, which is made up of the FBI and the Regional Street Enforcement Team, which includes the Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department, FBI, and UNR Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carla Higginbotham.
The case has been brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”