A Lorton man accused of recruiting at least seven high school girls to engage for alleged his prostitution business has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Justin Strom, aka “J-Dirt,” 26, is one of five alleged members of a Fairfax County-based street gang that were arrested and charged in late March with coercing teenage girls into prostituting themselves, according to court records.
According to the Grand Jury indictment and other court records, Strom is a member of the Underground Gangster Crips.
Court records say the UGC members would contact teens at school or through online social networking sites, and entice the girls to use their young ages and good looks to earn money through prostitution. In addition, members of the conspiracy would approach girls at bus or rail stops and attempt to recruit them into joining their prostitution business. Once a girl expressed interest, Strom is alleged to have relied on women within his organization to transition the victim into earning money for the conspirators by having sex with multiple clients.
According to the indictment, from 2007 through March, Strom allegedly recruited and trafficked seven victims aged 16 or 17, including transporting two of the victims from Northern Virginia to service clients either in Washington, D.C., or Maryland. Many of the victims allegedly were provided with illegal drugs and alcohol, and were required to have to sex with members of the conspiracy as a “try out” or an “initiation” before they worked as prostitutes.
Court records state one victim testified she was forced to ingest cocaine, perform oral sex at knifepoint, and sustained cuts on her face and arms from Strom’s violent actions.
Strom was charged with conspiracy, seven counts of sex trafficking of a child and two counts of transporting a minor across state lines for purposes of engaging in commercial sex acts. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison on the conspiracy charge and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and maximum penalty of life in prison on the other charges. Strom’s attorney, Alan H. Yamamoto, was unable to be reached for comment.
Court records say Strom and other conspirators also allegedly provided "in-call" service to clients, allowing clients to use the basement of a townhome in Lorton to have sex with victims. In addition, many victims were prostituted by walking door-to-door soliciting clients in apartment buildings or townhouse complexes, with Strom and others waiting within a car nearby.
"Human trafficking is a horrible crime, but it's made even worse when children are the ones being exploited,” said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Thursday. “The Fairfax County Police Department was invaluable in investigating this case and helping us get the evidence we needed to seek indictment."
Last month, Christopher Sylvia, 23, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a juvenile, according to court documents.
According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Sylvia admitted he was a UGC associate who assisted the gang in transporting juveniles in November 2011 and January as they engaged in prostitution.
Sylvia faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for July.
Sylvia’s attorney, Pleasant S. Brodnax, was unable to be reached for comment.