A Georgia man has pleaded guilty to prostituting at least seven girls in Herndon and other locations in Virginia, Maryland and other states.
Edwin Barcus Jr., 27, faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison when he is sentenced on June 7, authorities in Northern Virginia said on Tuesday.
According to court documents filed with his plea agreement, Barcus started a commercial sex operation in August, 2007 and trafficked at least 23 women and girls between then and November, 2012.
At least four of the victims were 16 years old and three others were 17 years old when Barcus began employing them as prostitutes.
Authorities said that Barcus, also known by the nickname “Boo,” targeted women and girls who had run away from home or lived in a dysfunctional home environment. In some cases, Barcus would lead the women and girls to believe that he or other members of the organization were romantically interested in them.
Prosecutors said Barcus admitted to purchasing clothing and shoes for his recruits as a means of luring them in.
Barcus used erotic Web sites to advertise the women’s and girls’ services and to find new recruits, prosecutors said, and provided the females working for him with alcohol and narcotics.
According to authorities, Barcus assaulted at least three of the members of the sex ring and had several of them tattooed with his nickname.
Barcus operated the sex trafficking ring in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, prosecutors said. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police, and the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.