TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Three men from New Jersey and another from South Carolina have been indicted on human trafficking charges involving a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly forced into prostitution.
Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman said Michael McLeod, David Powell Jr. and Tyree Jeter, all of Jersey City, and Demetrius James Hayward, of Summerville, South Carolina, also face conspiracy, child endangerment and numerous other counts in the indictment recently handed up by a state grand jury. The defendants were arrested in May.
McLeod led the operation, using threats and violence to force the 14-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman to work as prostitutes in hotels, authorities said. Hoffman said the two women had sex with up to 10 men per day, with all the money going to McLeod.
“This is a heartbreaking case that fits a classic pattern of human trafficking,” Hoffman said in a news release. ” … No child would submit to such horrific conditions unless she faced a threat of violence, which in this case allegedly was conveyed by the ring’s boss in the form of brutal attacks on a second victim.”
McLeod allegedly held a gun to the 18-year-old’s head and threatened to kill her.
The FBI Child Exploitation Task Force received a tip that photos of the 14-year-old were being used in ads for a female escort service, WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported.
A first-degree human trafficking conviction carries a sentence of 20 years without parole to life in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000.
Telephone numbers for the four men could not be located Sunday.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)