Georgia man pleads guilty in Virginia to running multistate teen sex ring

A 27-year-old Georgia man pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., to engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, according to a report in the Washington Times newspaper.

Edwin “Boo” Barcus Jr. faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced June 7.

Authorities said Barcus made his living “exploiting vulnerable young girls and luring them into prostitution.”

“Barcus saw these girls as his property — even making them get tattoos with his nickname,” U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said in the newspaper report. “Thanks to the FBI, Fairfax County Police Department and the members of our Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, his operation is shut down and can no longer victimize these girls.”

Barcus led a commercial sex organization starting in 2007 that prostituted at least 23 women, including four who were 16 when Barcus began prostituting them, according to the report.

He targeted runaways or girls from broken homes.He controlled the girls using violence, drugs and alcohol, according to the newspaper. Barcus used and other erotic sites to advertise the girls’ services and to recruit girls, according to the report.

In November Barcus was prostituting at least one juvenile in Herndon, Va., while another member of his organization was prostituting other girls in Atlanta, according to the newspaper.

In addition to Maryland and Virginia, he operated in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, according to the newspaper.