Man who trafficked 16-year-old girl in Fulton, Cherokee gets life sentence

4 others convicted, sentenced to prison in both counties

Credit: File photo

Credit: File photo

A Union City man received two life sentences this month after he pleaded guilty to trafficking a 16-year-old girl in both Fulton and Cherokee counties, state officials said.

Mark Thomas, 38, entered separate guilty pleas in both counties in cases with the same victim, who he sold for sex over the course of several months in 2021, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a news release. Four other men have also been convicted of trafficking the same teenager, Carr said.

“These life sentences should send a message to all those who prey on our children — you will be vigorously pursued and aggressively prosecuted,” Carr said.

Thomas first pleaded guilty to a dozen individual counts in Fulton on May 19, according to the attorney general’s office. Those charges included six counts of trafficking, two counts of battery and one count each of aggravated assault, aggravated child molestation, child molestation and first-degree cruelty to children.

The following week, Thomas pleaded guilty to two more counts of trafficking in Cherokee, Carr said. His two life sentences will be served concurrently, according to the attorney general.

The case against Thomas began Dec. 18, 2021, when he was pulled over in Cherokee with a 16-year-old girl in the passenger seat, Carr said. The teenager told investigators that Thomas had been selling her for sex for the previous three months, beginning when she was just 15.

Investigators found that Thomas had driven the girl to Woodstock, where she was sold to two men, Jose Medina Dominguez and Cesar Juarez Oaxaca, Carr said. Both Dominguez and Oaxaca have been convicted on trafficking and rape charges in Cherokee and sentenced to prison.

Thomas also sold the girl for sex at hotels in the area of Fulton Industrial Boulevard, Carr said. She was purchased by a man named Ruben Tolentino in a deal facilitated by another defendant, Cedric Johnson. Tolentino and Johnson have also both been convicted in Fulton on trafficking charges and sentenced to prison.

As they investigated the Fulton case, an analyst on Carr’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit found evidence that a hotel clerk had helped the defendants traffic the teen, according to the attorney general’s office. That discovery led to charges against Dionte Johnson, though that case remains open.

“We will not rest in our efforts to protect our most vulnerable Georgians, and anyone who seeks to abuse and exploit them will be met with the full force of the law,” Carr said. “We are proud of this latest outcome, and we will keep fighting until every person who engaged in the trafficking of this young woman is put behind bars.”