Feds: Man Ran Sex Ring From Jail—With His Wife and Mom
A North Carolina man is accused of using jail telephones to lure underage girls into prostitution as part of a scheme to raise bail money.
Zerrell Ross Fuentes, of Charlotte, allegedly used the jail telephone to recruit three underage girls into prostitution. The 22-year-old also arranged the victims’ transportation to Myrtle Beach through his family, prosecutors say.
Fuentes’ wife, Brianna Leshay Wright, and his mother, Tanya Marie Fuentes, are also facing federal charges for allegedly driving the girls across state lines for commercial sex, then collecting the proceeds for Fuentes.
Two alleged victims were 16 and 17 years old when they were forced into prostitution, a police report obtained by The Daily Beast shows.
“The callousness of this family is demonstrated by the act of pimping three young women to raise bond to enable Zerrell Fuentes to be released from jail,” said Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
“To place importance on Zerrell Fuentes’ release from jail ahead of the well-being of three young women is indicative of the value placed on life by pimps like Zerrell Fuentes,” Rose added. “Fortunately the defendant is now held without bond in federal custody while federal charges against him are pursued.”
Last week, a grand jury returned an indictment against the Fuentes family, charging each of them with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy, two counts of sex trafficking of a minor and three counts of transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution.
Wright, 24, and Tanya Fuentes, 53, each face another count of sex trafficking of a minor over the conspiracy, which allegedly occurred in April and May of 2016.
The trio faces a minimum of 10 years behind bars for each charge, as well as a $250,000 fine. Zerrell Fuentes could also land 10 years for an unrelated firearms offense for which he is currently incarcerated, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Prosecutors say Fuentes’s mother paid for hotel rooms for the minor victims, while Wright placed online prostitution ads using her own phone number. Wright allegedly arranged and transported the victims to and from the “dates.”
According to the indictment, “the proceeds from the conspiracy would be used to pay Zerrell Ross Fuentes’ bond so that he could get out of jail.”
Fuentes was booked on April 28, 2016, on hit-and-run, gun and drug charges, WSOC-TV reported. Over the next few days, the inmate allegedly used a phone at the jail to recruit the girls into prostitution, according to the TV station.
Meanwhile, Wright, who online goes by the last name Fuentes, discussed her impending arrest in a series of Facebook posts.
“Woke up to find out the Feds just really picked up my case,” she wrote on April 21.
She added, “Really don’t know how to tell my nephews im finna go to jail. I’ve been avoiding this talk all year.”
“I don’t care what happens to me just don’t blame my husband or hate him, shit happens,” Wright said in another April 21 post.
On April 20, she posted a Flipagram video collage with photos and videos of herself and a man who appears to be Fuentes. One part of the video—which uses “Part II” by Jay Z and Beyoncé as a backdrop—shows a man who looks like Fuentes riding a dirt bike and later waving a handgun from the back of a car.
For days, Wright appeared to know an indictment was coming. On April 19, she wrote, “In my eyes any new friend request is the Feds or an unknown pussy popper.”
The same day, she wrote, “I was pose to be bonding my n*gga out next week but the Feds was quicker than his release date now I got a helluva grudge.”
Days earlier, Wright wrote, “2016 taught me not to be friends with prostitutes.”