Tampa Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Engage in Sex Trafficking of a Minor
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 17, 2012|
TAMPA—Mario Laguna-Guerrero (27, Tampa) pled guilty last week to conspiracy to engage in the sex trafficking of a minor. He faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, starting sometime in 2008, in Hillsborough County, Laguna recruited “Jane Doe” to perform commercial sex acts in exchange for money. Laguna transported her to various locations, including to migrant farm worker camps, for the purpose of having her engage in prostitution. At these locations, Laguna conspired with other individuals for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts with Jane Doe.
Jane Doe, who has an IQ of 58, was less than 18 years old. At the time of the offense, she and Laguna were engaged in a relationship with each other and, as a result, Laguna knew how old she was.
This case was investigated by the Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Clearwater Police Department (CPD). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.
It is another case brought as 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”