Brian Hernandez Acosta and his brother, Nilageo Alvarez Acosta, have been arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking of a minor, and transportation of a minor for prostitution. A third man, Jaime Adam Riano, was arraigned on the same charges on April 13.
“These men allegedly preyed on vulnerable young girls by sexually exploiting them for quick money,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “This case highlights the danger that lurks on social media sites, where the defendants allegedly pursued some of the child victims.”
“These federal charges are a reminder that sex trafficking of minors continues to be a very real problem and that it is not confined to urban areas. This case further illustrates how law enforcement, working together across many jurisdictions and state lines, remains responsive in addressing this heinous crime problem that will forever scar those being exploited,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
“We are thankful for the work and success of all involved in this investigation that has ended the elaborate criminal enterprise these predators operated. The scope of their operation is a reminder that sex trafficking is a real danger for the young people in our communities,” said Chief Jason Parker, Dalton Police Department.
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Hernandez Acosta, Alvarez Acosta, and Riano allegedly conspired to traffic minor girls for commercial sex throughout North Georgia as well as in Florida and Tennessee. Beginning in or around November 2015, and continuing until December 2016, the defendants caused at least five girls between 16 and 17 years old to engage in prostitution, including by using force, fraud, and coercion.
Hernandez Acosta, after pursuing some of the girls on Facebook, allegedly posted provocative photographs of them in the adult entertainment and escort sections of www.backpage.com, a classified advertisement website, to solicit men to have sex with the minors for money. The advertisements used fake names for the minors and falsely listed the minors as between ages 19 and 21 years, when in fact, they were all underage. Hernandez Acosta and Alvarez Acosta forced one 16-year-old girl to have sex with the men after driving her from Florida to Georgia to engage in prostitution, and after falsely offering the girl a place to live.
Riano often drove this 16-year-old victim to the locations where she engaged in commercial sex acts. Another 16-year-old high school student was driven to a residence in the Atlanta area to have sex with a man for $150, which was paid directly to Hernandez Acosta. The defendants operated a high-volume, low-cost business, requiring the young girls to have sex with multiple men each night and kept nearly all of the money they earned.
Hernandez Acosta, 26, of Dalton, Georgia, Alvarez Acosta, 31, of Tampa, Florida, and Riano, 29, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, were indicted April 11, 2017.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dalton Police Department. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Murray County Sheriff’s Office have also provided assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suzette A. Smikle and Dash A. Cooper are prosecuting the case.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.