Fitzgerald man handed federal court sentence, two found illegally in southwest Georgia

A Thomas County dog found a bag containing a large quantity of methamphetamine, sparking a chain of events resulting in a southwest Georgia resident with a lengthy criminal history being sentenced to prison after admitting the methamphetamine belonged to him and that he intended to distribute the drug.

MACON – An Albany couple guilty of trafficking a runaway Middle Georgia teen, forcing the victim to engage in sexual acts for food and shelter, have been sentenced to federal prison for their crimes.

Demetrius Hunter, aka Red, 39, of Albany was sentenced to serve 240 months in federal prison to be followed by 25 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to sex trafficking of children, and co-defendant Tamara Taylor, aka Coco, 30, of Albany, was sentenced to serve 60 months in federal prison to be followed by 15 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to use of facilities in interstate and foreign commerce to transmit information about a minor. The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Hunter and Taylor’s shocking manipulation of this runaway child — forcing her to perform sex acts in exchange for food and shelter — is pure evil,” acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a news release. “Our office will pursue justice for those who sexually traffic and abuse children. Our law enforcement community stands strongly united in doing everything in our power to protect children from sexual predators and seeking justice for those who choose to harm children.”

“Instead of trying to help a young child in need of assistance, these two adults instead took advantage of her desperate situation and traumatized her further,” acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Phil Wislar said. “Hopefully this sentencing in some way helps this innocent victim in her recovery from the serious emotional scars they left her with.”

On Oct. 5, 2016, Taylor came across the victim, a 15-year-old female, at the Bridgeview hotel in Macon. The day prior, the victim had run away from a group foster home and was at the hotel looking for her sister. The victim did not find her sister and had been abandoned by her ride.

The victim informed Taylor of her age and that she had run away from a group home. Taylor invited the victim to her room where Taylor introduced the victim to Hunter, who knew her age and that she had run away. Hunter told the victim that they were traveling the world and invited her to stay with them but told her that she would have to make money. The victim did not understand at that time how she would be expected to make money.

After staying one night at the Bridgeview, Hunter and Taylor took the victim to another hotel in Warner Robins. The victim’s profile was placed on Backpage, a website commonly used for online advertisements for commercial sex acts. Records from Backpage verify that the victim’s profile had been posted by Taylor on Backpage. The advertisements included photographs of the victim in underwear and included a cellphone number to call that was provided by Hunter and Taylor.

Hunter explained the victim would have to do “tricks” to get money and forced the victim to perform sex acts on him. The victim remained with Hunter and Taylor until Oct. 18, 2016, when they were encountered by law enforcement, and the victim was returned to her group foster home. As a result of the advertisements posted on Backpage, the victim had to engage in two to five commercial sex acts. During her time with Hunter and Taylor, the victim relied on them for her shelter and food. She stated in her interview with law enforcement that when having to engage in one commercial sex act, she told herself, “You gotta do this, you gotta get the money. That’s how you eat.”

The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melody Ellis and Beth Howard prosecuted the case.

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