Temple Hills man indicted on charges of child sex trafficking

Date: 2009-09-11
Source: gazette.net

Resident allegedly acted as pimp for underage girls

by Zoe Tillman

A Temple Hills man is facing federal charges for allegedly running a child sex trafficking operation around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for at least three years.

Shelby Lewis, 42, was indicted by a federal grand jury Sept. 1 following his arrest on charges of acting as the pimp for at least four underage girls. Two girls ages 14 and 16 were arrested in May for attempting to solicit an undercover Metropolitan Police Department officer, and police identified Lewis as their pimp.

He was arrested June 19 at his home by FBI agents and Metropolitan police.

A detention hearing is scheduled for Monday in federal district court in Washington, D.C. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The nine-count indictment charges Lewis with transporting minors from Maryland into the District for the purpose of prostitution since at least March 2006. He faces five counts of child sex trafficking and four counts of transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of sex trafficking.

Lewis is accused of pimping at least two other minors, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. The first girl, whom Lewis is accused of pimping for three years, was found after being reported missing at age 13. He is also accused of acting as the pimp of another girl for two years from the time she was 12.

A search of Lewis' home by police yielded several items they believe are related to his alleged prostitution business, including a firearm and photographs of victims, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Court records indicate that Lewis had been arrested at least twice since 2006 on charges of prostitution or human trafficking. Charges were dropped in both matters.

Spokesmen for the U.S. attorney's office and the Metropolitan Police Department both declined to comment further on the extent of Lewis' activities, since the case is pending in federal court.

Attorney information for Lewis was not immediately available Friday.

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