Crime

A Charlotte couple forced girls into prostitution to raise bond money, officials say

A Charlotte couple entered guilty pleas Tuesday on federal charges that they made three young girls engage in prostitution in Myrtle Beach.

The act in 2016 was an attempt to raise bond for the husband, 24-year-old Zerrell Ross Fuentes, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Fuentes was in jail on hit-and-run and gun charges at the time, jail records show.

Zerrell Fuentes.jpg

Zerrell Ross Fuentes

Mecklenburg County Jail

Brianna Wright.jpg

Brianna Leshay Wright

Mecklenburg County Jail

Fuentes admitted to recruiting the three victims over the phone while he was in jail, the release states.

His wife, 25-year-old Brianna Leshay Wright, then drove the girls to Myrtle Beach along with Fuentes’ mother, Tanya Fuentes, according to the release. Wright posted online prostitution advertisements for the girls and provided her phone number to arrange meetings between the girls and customers, the release states.

Tanya Fuentes paid for lodging, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The details of the couple’s plea agreement were not provided. They are still in custody and awaiting a sentencing date.

Tanya Fuentes was also indicted on federal sex trafficking charges.

Sex trafficking related offenses carry a minimum punishment of 10 years in prison and a maximum life sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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