A California man, found guilty for his part in transporting two Mesa teens across state lines to work as prostitutes, was sentenced to federal prison last week - ending the two-year child sex trafficking case.
Uawndre Larue Fields, 32, of San Diego, was sentenced to 16 1/2 years in federal prison for turning the two underage girls into prostitutes and paying for their bus ride to San Diego, where they would work for him.
Co-defendant DePaul Brooks, 27, of National City, Calif., had already been sentenced in July to eight years and one month for his part in the crimes.
A federal jury in Phoenix convicted each man earlier this year on two counts each of child sex trafficking and interstate transportation of a minor for prostitution.
The FBI and Phoenix police investigated the 2006 incident in which Fields and Brooks picked up the two girls in Mesa after they had run away from a juvenile detention facility. Testimony cited in a motion filed by Fields' attorney stated that the two girls "willfully left the facility in order to engage in sexual and drug-related activity with an man known only as Eddie."
Further testimony showed that the two girls made the decision to become employed as prostitutes before they met the defendants.
Fields persuaded the two teens to work for him and then bought the girls bus tickets to San Diego.
The two defendants met the girls in California, where the girls were taught how to use the Web site Craigslist to arrange their jobs.