Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:29 AM
Published on: Monday, February 04, 2013
By Jim Davis
A Capitol Heights man was sentenced to serve 12 1/2 years in a federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for transporting a minor to engage in prostitution and sex trafficking of minors.
On Thursday, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Dennis “Domo” Smith, 31.
“The sexual victimization and trafficking of children is among the highest criminal investigative priorities for the FBI here in Maryland,” said Stephen Vogt, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Maryland office. “This case highlights the exemplary work of the Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force and further validates the significant resources incorporated into working jointly with our law enforcement partners. The FBI pledges our firm commitment in finding, investigating and prosecuting individuals who prey on young victims.”
According to Smith’s plea agreement, in October 2011, he met a 16-year-old girl on a social networking site. After a month of engaging in computer chats and text messaging, Smith drove to the girl’s home and picked her up. After picking up two adult women, Smith drove them all to Richmond, Va., where the women engaged in prostitution.
Smith had the girl collect the money made by the two women for two days. Smith then photographed and advertised the girl online for sexual services. The 16-year-old engaged in commercial sex acts and provided the money she made to Smith. Smith then drove the three females back to Maryland, where he again advertised the 16-year-old for sexual services. The next day the girl returned home.
In February 2012, Smith again picked up the 16-year-old and a 15-year-old girl from their high school and took them back to his home. In March 2012, law enforcement was notified that Smith was prostituting the 15-year-old girl at a hotel in New Carrollton through an online advertisement. An undercover law enforcement officer set up a “date” with the 15-year-old girl. When the officer arrived at the hotel, he identified the 15-year-old girl, as well as a 17-year-old girl, who were engaged in prostitution. Smith was arrested at the hotel and his laptop and cell phone were seized along with tattoo equipment.
Smith admitted that he brought the two girls to his hotel, where he photographed them and advertised them online for sexual services. Smith instructed the younger girl on how much to charge clients for sexual services, and she provided the money she made from prostitution to Smith. There were text messages on Smith’s cell phone between Smith and the girls that related to the girls engaging in prostitution. Both the girls were tattooed with Smith’s nickname, “Domo.”
This case is 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.
This case was 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.