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Man accused of trafficking minors for sex to help make bail

This photo provided by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office shows Zerrell Fuentes. Federal prosecutors say Fuentes conspired with his wife and mother to traffic three minors for sex in South Carolina to help him make bail. The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release on Monday, April 24, 2017, that 22-year-old Fuentes, his 24-year-old wife, Brianna Wright, and his 53-year-old mother, Tanya Fuentes each face a number of sex trafficking charges. A federal grand jury issued an eight-count indictment on Friday. (Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office via AP)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A man conspired with his wife and mother to traffic three minors for sex in South Carolina to help him make bail, federal prosecutors said Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release that Zerrell Fuentes, 22, his wife, Brianna Wright, 24, and his mother, Tanya Fuentes, 53, each face a number of sex trafficking charges. A federal grand jury issued an eight-count indictment on Friday.

Prosecutors said Zerrell Fuentes used a telephone while he was in the Mecklenburg County jail in Charlotte to recruit three minors and arrange for their travel from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to engage in the sex acts.

According to prosecutors, the three entered into the conspiracy between late April and early May of 2016.

In addition, the indictment said Wright, accompanied by Tanya Fuentes, drove the three minors from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. While there, prosecutors said Tanya Fuentes paid for lodging for the two women and the minors. Wright placed ads on the internet promoting the minors for sex.

The indictment also said Wright provided her own telephone number on the ads as a way to arrange connections between the minor victims and customers. Wright also transported the minors to and from the arranged meetings, the indictment said.

Zerrell Fuentes was already in custody on a federal firearms violation. Wright and Tanya Fuentes had a court appearance scheduled for Monday.

The penalty for each of the eight sex trafficking related offenses is a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Zerrell Fuentes is also facing a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the unrelated firearms offense.

The Department of Justice didn’t release any other details about the case.

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