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August 8, 2013

Los Angeles teen faces new federal charges of pimping underage prostitutes

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seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

The following information was released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

A 19-year-old South Los Angeles man is scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday to face charges that accuse him of acting as a pimp for underage prostitutes whose services were advertised online.

Curtis Maurice Canady, 19, also known as “Cash,” was charged last week in a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Santa Ana with two counts of child sex trafficking.

Because the victims were between the ages of 14 and 18, Canady would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison if he is convicted of either count. The statutory maximum penalty for the offenses is life in federal prison.

After his arrest on July 25 as part of an FBI-led initiative called Operation Cross Country, Canady was charged by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office with two counts of human trafficking with the intent to pander, two counts of pandering a minor by procuring, and one count of attempted pimping. At a court appearance this morning in the Orange County Superior Court, the District Attorney’s Office agreed to Canady’s release from custody so he could be taken into federal custody. Canady is scheduled to appear in United States District Court in Santa Ana tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

“As we focus our efforts on sex traffickers who prey upon young, vulnerable victims, we are developing new ways to identify the problem and deal with offenders,” United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. said. “This case demonstrates the value of collaborative law enforcement to most effectively bring justice to the victims of this most troubling offense.”

Officers with the Anaheim Police Department identified Canady as a trafficking suspect after interviewing victims who were working as prostitutes. Canady was subsequently arrested by members of the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force during Operation Cross Country, which was conducted to identify sex trafficking rings and underage victims (see related press release).

According to the federal complaint, Canady drove female prostitutes, including two girls who are 15 and 16, to Anaheim. On July 25, task force investigators located one of the victims in a motel room in Los Angeles, and she not only admitted to working as a prostitute for Canady, she also said she accompanied Canady and another minor to Las Vegas, where they worked as prostitutes. During the investigation, investigators also identified one of the victims as the subject of an online advertisement for prostitution services in the Palmdale area.

“The U.S. Attorney and I will coordinate efforts to take these modern-day slave owners and human traffickers off the streets and prosecute them for the greatest possible punishment under the law for sexually exploiting children for their greedy purposes,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Bill Lewis stated: “The targeting of minors for prostitution is on the rise in the United States. Law enforcement and the community must work together to identify victims in our own backyards and to end the cycle of oppression endured by our nation’s children, as well as adult victims, who may be forced into prostitution against their will.”

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

The case against Canady is the result of an investigation by the Anaheim Police Department and the FBI.

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