California man pleads guilty to transporting teen across state lines to engage in prostitution following ICE HSI probe
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Stockton man pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge accusing him of transporting a teenage girl from Southern California to Nevada and Arizona so she could work as a prostitute for his financial benefit.
Christian Alexander Augustus, 25, aka “Sir Ceeco,” pleaded guilty to one count of transportation of a minor in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution and criminal sexual activity, the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles and the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force — which in addition to HSI, includes local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
According to his plea agreement, in April 2019, Augustus willfully caused a teenage girl to be transported from Los Angeles County to Las Vegas with the intent that she would engage in prostitution and other criminal sexual activity.
More specifically, from December 2018 to July 2019, Augustus directed the transportation of the victim from Los Angeles and Orange counties to locations – including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix – with the intent that she work as a prostitute to obtain money for him.
Augustus admitted to forcing the victim to work on the streets and advertising her services on the internet. He also admitted that he collected the money the victim obtained by committing commercial sex acts.
U.S. District Judge James V. Selna has scheduled a Nov. 29 sentencing hearing, at which time Augustus will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California’s Santa Ana Office.
The core mission of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force is using a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach toward the goal of combating human trafficking in Orange County, making the recovery of juvenile victims its top priority.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.