A North Carolina man, along with his wife and mother, have been indicted for sex trafficking of minors. NBC affiliate WCNC reports that from jail 24-year-old Zerrell Ross Fuentes of Charlotte recruited three girls under the age of 18 to work for him as prostitutes. His wife, 24-year-old Brianna Wright, and mother, 53-year-old Tanya Marie Fuentes, would then arrange the girl’s appointments and ferry them to perform sex acts. The money they made was intended to be used to pay Fuentes’ bond.
Zerrell Fuentes was incarcerated on hit-and-run, gun and drug charges in April of 2016. Using a prison pay phone, prosecutors say Zerrell enticed the three minors into prostituting themselves for him. Wright then advertised their services on the internet, providing her own telephone number on the ads to arrange their “dates.” Wright and Tanya Fuentes would then drive the girls to Myrtle Beach, Virginia, and pay for their lodging, as they hooked up with clients to perform illegal sex acts.
Brianna Wright and Tanya Fuentes were arrested Friday, April 21 and in court Monday, where a federal judge read out the allegations against them. According to WSOCTV, Wright posted about her impending arrest on her Facebook page Friday, saying "Woke up to find out the Feds just really picked up my case."
All three have been charged with sex trafficking conspiracy, two counts of sex trafficking of a minor and three counts of transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution. Wright and Tanya Fuentes were charged with an additional count of sex trafficking of a minor, while Zerrell Fuentes faces other charges related to his federal firearms violation. Each federal sex trafficking-related offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, with the potential for life in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine. Additionally, Zerrell Fuentes faces another potential 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine for the unrelated firearms offense.
[Photo: U.S. Department of Justice]