ALEXANDRIA, VA—Justin Strom, aka “Jae,” “Jae Dee,” or “J-Dirt,” 26, of Lorton, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to recruiting at least eight juvenile girls to engage in commercial sex for his street gang’s prostitution business.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, Attorney General of Virginia; Colonel David Rohrer, Fairfax County, Virginia Chief of Police; and Ronald T. Hosko, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris.
“For six years, Justin Strom profited from preying on teenage girls and others he recruited as prostitutes in a commercial sex ring,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Strom is the fifth and final Underground Gangster Crips gang member to plead guilty to sex trafficking a juvenile—a very serious crime that carries a potential life sentence.”
“Justin Strom robbed these girls of their childhoods, their innocence, and their trust, and he did that in the most base, vile, and despicable way possible,” said Attorney General Cuccinelli. “Nothing can ever repair the damages Strom inflicted on his victims, but it’s our hope that today’s guilty plea will help them begin a path towards healing and moving forward.”
“Today, a fifth member of the Underground Gangster Crips pleaded guilty to strong-arming and pimping underage girls in the illegal sex trade—a trade that is taking place here in some of the most affluent neighborhoods in our nation,” said Special Agent in Charge Hosko. “These gang members admitted that they beat and intimidated young girls they met on the Internet or in Metro stops in our area. They preyed on some of the most vulnerable in our society, and today Justin Strom admitted to these crimes.”
“This gang-driven prostitution ring was a direct threat to the safety and welfare of young women,” said Chief Rohrer. “With the help of our federal partners, we will continue to work aggressively and consistently to rid Fairfax County of gang violence and criminal operations wherever and whenever we find it.”
Strom pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a child, which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and maximum penalty of life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for September 14, 2012.
According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement and other court records, Strom is a member of the Underground Gangster Crips (UGC) set based in Fairfax County. From 2006 through March 2012, Strom misrepresented his identity online to recruit females—including juveniles—through online social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Datehookup and enticed the girls to use their good looks to earn money through prostitution. He and others posted numerous advertisements on Backpage, Craigslist, and other websites to solicit customers to pay to have sex with juvenile and adult prostitutes.
Strom admitted that he knowingly enticed at least eight juvenile girls to engage in prostitution for his business and that he received proceeds from this illicit conduct for approximately six years.
On March 28, 2012, Strom was among five members and associates of the UGC set based in Fairfax County charged with running a prostitution business that recruited and trafficked high school girls. Four previously pleaded guilty, and Strom’s guilty plea today marks the fifth and final conviction in this case.
Donyel Pier Dove, aka “Bleek,” 27, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty on May 17, 2012 to sex trafficking of a juvenile. He also pleaded guilty to use of a firearm during a crime of violence in relation to two armed robberies of 7-11 stores in Manassas, Virginia, in March 2012 and to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in Fairfax, which also occurred in March 2012. Dove faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of life on the use of a firearm charge and a maximum of 10 years in prison on the possession of a firearm charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 10, 2012 by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.
On May 14, 2012, Henock Ghile, aka “Knots,” 23, of Springfield, Virginia, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a juvenile. In court, Ghile admitted that he was a UGC gang associate and that from May 2011 through September 2011, he transported two 17-year-old girls to work as prostitutes. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 3, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
On April 14, 2012, two others associated with the UGC prostitution operation—Michael Tavon Jefferies, aka “Loc,” 21, of Woodbridge, Virginia; and Christopher Sylvia, 23, of Springfield, Virginia—pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a juvenile. Jefferies is scheduled to be sentenced on July 6, 2012 before U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Sylvia is scheduled for sentencing on July 20, 2012 before U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
This case was investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Birnbaum and Assistant U.S. Attorney Inayat Delawala 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 non-governmental organizations—dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes.