NC man, wife, mother charged with sex-trafficking minors

Zerrell Fuentes and his mother Tanya Fuentes (U.S. Department of Justice)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) — A Charlotte man, his wife and his mother are all charged in a sex trafficking case involving minors.

Zerrell Ross Fuentes, 22, Briana Leshay Wright, 24, and Tanya Fuentes, 53, are accused of transporting minors from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach for prostitution.

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An eight-count federal indictment returned on Thursday alleges that between April 28, 2016 and May 8, 2016, the three conspired with each other to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide and obtain, for the purpose of engaging in a commercial sex act.

“The indictment also alleges that the minors were transported across state lines for the purposes of prostitution,” court documents state.

Zerrell Fuentes was in jail and used a phone to recruit three minors in Charlotte “to engage in commercial sex acts for his benefit, knowing the minor victims were not yet 18 years of age,” court documents say. The money gained was allegedly used to pay Fuentes’ bond so he could get out of jail.

Wright, aka Brianna Fuentes, and Tanya Fuentes took the minors from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach to engage in the sex acts, court documents allege.

Wright is also accused of advertising the minors for sex online and arranging dates and transportation between the minors and customers.

The three were each charged with sex trafficking conspiracy, two counts of sex trafficking of a minor and three counts of transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution. Wright and Tanya Fuentes were charged with an additional count of sex trafficking of a minor.

“The penalty for each of the eight sex trafficking-related offenses is a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison with a $250,000 fine,” court documents state.

Zerrell Fuentes is in custody on a federal firearms violation and is expected to appear in court on the sex trafficking charges. Wright and Tanya Fuentes are expected in court Monday.

Zerrell Fuentes faces an additional 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the unrelated firearms offense.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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