Georgia Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking Multiple Teen Girls and Running a Child Exploitation Enterprise
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 11, 2013|
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Edwin Barcus Jr., aka “Boo,” 27, of Georgia, pleaded guilty to running a commercial sex business that prostituted at least seven juvenile girls in Herndon, Virginia, and other locations throughout Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, II; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Lt. Colonel James A. Morris, Acting Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
Barcus pleaded guilty to engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced on June 7, 2013.
“Edwin Barcus made his living exploiting vulnerable young girls and luring them into prostitution,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Barcus saw these girls as his property—even making them get tattoos with his nickname. Thanks to the FBI, Fairfax County Police Department, and the members of our Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, his operation is shut down and can no longer victimize these girls.”
“Recruiting, exploiting, and transporting juveniles for the purpose of underage prostitution is a cruel form of modern-day slavery,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “Prostitution is not a victimless crime. The FBI is committed to apprehending individuals who sexually exploit juveniles, and we will continue to work to identify these predators and their victims.”
According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, since August 2007, Barcus has led and organized a commercial sex organization that has prostituted at least 23 women, including at least four of whom were 16 years old and at least three of whom were 17 years old when Barcus began prostituting them. He targeted juveniles who had run away from home or lived in a broken home, sometimes making them believe that he or other members of the organization were romantically interested in them. Barcus also stated that he purchased clothing and shoes for girls he wanted to recruit as a means of luring them into the venture.
Barcus admitted that he used Backpage.com and other erotic Internet sites to advertise the girls’ services and to recruit girls to work for his organization. When the girls found it difficult to repeatedly have sex with strange men, Barcus and others provided them with alcohol and narcotics to make them more vulnerable and susceptible to prostitution.
Barcus and other conspirators carried and, when necessary, brandished firearms while engaging in prostitution-related activities, and Barcus battered at least three of the females working for his commercial sex enterprise. At times, Barcus had the women and girls he prostituted tattooed with his nickname “Boo.”
In November 2012, Barcus was prostituting at least one juvenile in Herndon, Virginia, while another member of his organization was prostituting other females in Atlanta, Georgia. Because the venture was yielding substantial profits in Herndon, Barcus instructed the conspirator to bring two 17-year-old girls to Herndon. When one of the girls objected, she was told that “under the rules of the game” she had to go to Virginia. Barcus admitted that each girl servicing clients in Herndon could obtain $500 or more per day. All the money was turned over to Barcus or other members of the enterprise.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Fairfax County Police Department, with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Frank and Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant United States Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies—along with nongovernmental organizations—dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.