GREENBELT, MD—Melvin Douglas, a/k/a Melvin Longwood, age 32, of Washington, D.C., and Dennis Smith, a/k/a Domo, age 31, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to transporting a minor across state lines to engage in prostitution. In a separate case, Dennis Smith, a/k/a Domo, age 31, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the same charge and to sex trafficking of a minor.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, as part of the Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force; and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks.
“Maryland’s human trafficking task force pursues all leads concerning exploited children and follows a zero-tolerance policy for child prostitution,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Criminals who pay for or profit from sex with children should understand that we are standing by to send them to federal prison.”
“The Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force efforts to combat child prostitution are critical in protecting these juvenile victims,” said Special Agent in Charge Stephen Vogt. “With numerous investigations and safe recoveries of victims, the task force has succeeded beyond expectations. The FBI is proud to be a part of these efforts with our law enforcement partners.”
According to Douglas’ plea agreement, from September 5, 2011 to February 9, 2012, Douglas transported a minor female from Washington, D.C. to hotels in Maryland to engage in prostitution. The Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit received a missing child alert from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for a 15-year-old female who had been reported missing from Prince William County, Virginia. The Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force located an ad on a website frequently used to advertise prostitution and escort services that featured the missing girl.
A “date” was made with the victim using the telephone number from the advertisement. A law enforcement officer was instructed to meet the girl at a motel in College Park, Maryland, on February 9, 2012. An agent saw Douglas and another individual exit the motel room a few minutes before the arranged time for the date and approach an SUV. Douglas was stopped and searched. A room key and $3,000 were seized. The missing girl was found in the motel room and interviewed. She confirmed that Douglas kept all the money she earned by prostitution.
Douglas and the government have agreed that if the court accepts the plea agreement, Douglas will be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow scheduled sentencing for February 4, 2013.
According to Smith’s plea agreement, in October 2011, Smith transported a 16-year-old girl across state lines to engage in prostitution after meeting her on a social networking site. In February 2012, Smith picked up the 16-year-old, along with a 15-year-old girl, and took them to his home. In March, law enforcement was notified that Smith was prostituting the 15-year-old girl at a hotel in New Carrollton, Maryland. Law enforcement set up a “date” and upon arriving at the hotel, identified Smith, the 15-year-old girl and a third girl who was 17 years old. Smith had advertised each of the three girls online for sexual services and had tattooed both the 16 and 15 year old girls with the word “Domo.”
Smith faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison for both transporting a minor across state lines to engage in prostitution and for sex trafficking of a minor. Chief Judge Chasanow scheduled Smith’s sentencing for February 2, 2013.
Douglas and Smith will also be required to register as a sex offender in the place where they reside, where they are an employee, and where they are a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
This case was 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 “Resources” tab on the left of the page.
The cases were part of the Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force efforts to combat child prostitution. The task force, created in 2010 is comprised of 15 members representing 10 agencies, both state and federal. Since October 2011, the task force has recovered 32 juveniles and investigated 25 cases that have resulted in state and federal prosecutions. The task force coordinates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit to identify missing children being advertised online for prostitution.