MOSCOW, November 26 (Sputnik) — Police in Florida have charged two high school students with human trafficking, in connection with a prostitution ring organized across three Florida high schools.
“This looks like it is isolated between Sarasota High School, Venice High School and Riverview High School,” said Venice Police Captain Tom Mattmuller in a press conference attended by the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
The Tribune reports that on Friday, Alexa Nicole De Armas, a 17-year-old student at Sarasota High School, was arrested and charged with human trafficking of a person younger than 18, and on Tuesday Venice High School student Julian Luis Mathena, 15, was arrested and charged with human trafficking. Authorities also told the press that a third person is to be arrested.
The students hatched their plans during the summer, to prostitute other teenagers for money and alcohol. CBS Miami reports that De Armas used Facebook messenger, Kik and Snapchat to organize the prostitution. “Lol we need to start a business,” she wrote in one message. The prostitutes were to receive 40% of the rates, which were set at $50 to $70 to perform oral sex, and $100 for intercourse with a virgin. A figure of $200 was floated for investment in the business.
“They discussed it as a business opportunity,” Captain Mattmuller told the Tribune. “You could see that the motivation was money, alcohol and drugs.” According to the police documents, De Armas wrote “Why pimp out old hoes when I have fresh young hoes I can give up for money?”
A third man, John Mosher, 21, was also arrested on Friday as part of the investigation, charged with sexual battery on a victim older than 12. It is alleged that De Armas procured a teenage prostitute for Mosher, and that the girl “was coerced into” participating in prostitution, the police said. Mosher, who was listed in court documents as homeless and working as a restaurant dishwasher, reportedly paid $40 and a bottle of liquor to have sex with the girl.
The police stated that four more teenagers were solicited by De Armas and Mathena to enter into prostitution, and that the plans were uncovered when the four told Venice High School administrators about the ring. More victims may come forward as the investigation continues.