AMARILLO, Texas — A Panhandle Texas man pleaded guilty Thursday to an indictment charging one count of attempting to sex traffic a child, announced Acting U.S. Attorney John Parker, Northern District of Texas.
This case was investigated by U.S .Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Amarillo Police Department.
Deswan Newsome, 19, from Amarillo, 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, Newsome admitted that from about March 30 to April 3, 2015, he attempted to recruit a 15-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts.
This investigation began when a Task Force Officer (TFO) with HSI learned that a particular individual was using Facebook to recruit and entice teenage females 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 the individual claiming, “You can make 2500 in a week if you really put the work into it.” The individual sent A.M. his phone number and the two discussed a meeting; however the conversation ended without any arrangements being made.
On April 1, the TFO (A.M.) received a private message on his undercover Facebook account from “Deswan Newsome,” later identified as defendant Newsome. 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 he then turned the call over to a female who provided more details about prostitution to A.M. A.M. advised this female that she was 15-years-old.
On April 3, A.M. and Newsome exchanged messages and arranged 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 taken into custody. Newsome 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.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Hammer and Joshua Frausto, Northern District of Texas, are prosecuting 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 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
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. 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.
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.