Former Texas Panhandle resident pleads guilty to attempted child sex trafficking
AMARILLO, Texas — A former Texas Panhandle resident pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte to one count of attempted sex trafficking of a child, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
This case was investigated by the Amarillo Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Xzavion Dayshaun Ragsdale, aka “Yung Billy,” 19, formerly of Amarillo, Texas, and most recently Dallas, Texas, faces a statutory penalty of not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set.
According to plea documents filed in the case, Ragsdale admitted that from about March 30 to April 3 he attempted to recruit a 15-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts.
This investigation began when an HSI Task Force Officer (TFO) learned that a particular individual, later identified as Ragsdale, was using Facebook to recruit and entice teenage girls for prostitution. In March, the TFO set up an undercover Facebook account representing himself as a 15-year-old female, “A.M.,” and the two exchanged messages about A.M. working as a prostitute, with Ragsdale claiming, “you can make 2500 in a week if you really put the work into it.” Ragsdale sent A.M. his phone number and the two discussed a meeting; however, the conversation ended without any arrangements being made.
On April 1, A.M. received a private message on his undercover Facebook account from “Deswan Newsome,” a defendant in a related case. Newsome and A.M. exchanged messages about A.M. engaging in prostitution, and A.M. advised Newsome that she was 15-years-old.
On April 2, an Amarillo Police Department officer, posing as A.M., made a phone call to Newsome, who answered, but turned the call over to a female who provided more details about prostitution to A.M. A.M. advised the female that she was 15-years-old.
On April 3, A.M. and Newsome exchanged messages and agreed to meet at a convenience store in Amarillo so A.M. could engage in prostitution. When Newsome arrived at the location he was identified and arrested. He admitted talking to A.M. on Facebook and said that he was going to have someone else teach her how to perform sex acts, and that he’d get 60 percent of the money she made for performing the commercial sex acts.
Newsome, 19, of Amarillo, pleaded guilty in July to one count of attempted sex trafficking of a child. He was sentenced in September to serve 135 months in federal prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Frausto, Norther District of Texas, prosecuted this case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 12,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.