DC
07/06/2012 01:33 pm ET

Gang Member Michael Tavon Jefferies Sentenced For Trafficking High School Girls

A 21-year-old man who served as a bodyguard for a violent gang that prostituted high school girls has been sentenced to 120 months in prison.

Michael Tavon Jefferies, known as "Loc," pleaded guilty in May to being a bodyguard for a Northern Virginia prostitution business "in which young women are raped and sold into a life of slavery as gang members greet each other with a 'Crip handshake,'" in the words of The Connection's Michael Lee Pope:

The high school girls were threatened with violence if they attempted to leave. They were sexually exploited by customers of the sex trafficking operation as well as the men who ran the prostitution ring. One 16-year-old girl was raped at the Springfield Mall. Another had sex with two members as part of a “gang initiation.” According to federal prosecutors, the whole operation was led by a team of former Fairfax County public school students who were part of a violent gang known as the Underground Gangster Crips.

Here is Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's press release about Jefferies' sentencing on Friday:

WOODBRIDGE GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO 120 MONTHS FOR ROLE IN SEX TRAFFICKING HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS

ALEXANDRIA (July 6, 2012) -- Michael Tavon Jefferies, aka "Loc," 21, of Woodbridge, Va., was sentenced today to 120 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for his role as a bodyguard for a gang-led prostitution business that recruited and trafficked high school girls.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Colonel David Rohrer, Fairfax County Chief of Police, and Ronald T. Hosko, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.

On April 12, 2012, Jefferies pled guilty to sex trafficking of a juvenile. According to court records, Jefferies was a member of the Underground Gangster Crips (UGC) set based in Fairfax County, Va., and he assisted the gang in sex trafficking of juveniles and adults from about November 2011 to January 2012. He served as a bodyguard for the UGC prostitution enterprise and collected the proceeds received from prostitution, providing a portion to another member of UGC and keeping a portion for himself. Jefferies also paid for an advertisement on Backpage.com to solicit customers and paid for hotel rooms for one of the juvenile prostitutes.

This case was investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department and the FBI's Washington Field Office, with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant United States Attorney Marc Birnbaum and Assistant United States Attorney Inayat Delawala are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

CONVERSATIONS