Ringleader pleads guilty in Dalton underage girl trafficking case


ROME, Georgia (WDEF) – Federal prosecutors say the lead suspect in a northwest Georgia child sex trafficking case has pleaded guilty.

Brian Hernandez Acosta from Dalton, pleaded guilty to conducting a child exploitation enterprise, conspiring to engage, and engaging, in sex trafficking minors by force, fraud, or coercion, sex trafficking of children under 18 years old, interstate transport of a minor for prostitution, producing child pornography, and distributing cocaine to a person under 21 years old.

“The defendant produced child pornography and pursued a full range of child exploitation methods,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

Prosecutors say Acosta trafficked at least six underage girls for sex throughout North Georgia in 2015-16.

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They say he pursued them on Facebook and Snapchat.

He then posted provocative photos of them in adult entertainment and escort sections of Backpage.com.

The Department of Justice has seized the website.

Prosecutors say Acosta offered one 16 year old a place to live, drove her up from Florida, but then forced her to into prostitution.

“The scheme in this case is especially egregious because they coerced their child victims into engaging in sexual activity in some instances through the use of alcohol and cocaine. ”

Two other suspects have already pleaded guilty in the investigation.

“We are hopeful that Hernandez Acosta’s guilty plea will encourage more victims to contact law enforcement.”