Several Virginia Gangs Connected to Sex Trafficking

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Federal investigators have charged five alleged gang members in connection with a teenage prostitution ring in Northern Virginia.

At least 10 high school girls have been identified as potential victims, threatened if they didn't participate.

One girl said she was forced to perform sexual acts at knifepoint.

According to an FBI affidavit, the defendants are members of a Fairfax County-based street gang known as the Underground Gangster Crips.

Police say the men found the girls by using Craigslist and social networking sites like Facebook. It's believed they also gave the girls drugs and alcohol.

"(They'd) basically say to them, 'Hey, you're pretty. Do you want to make some money?'" U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said.

"Young women, including juveniles, were allegedly targeted, recruited, and exploited," Fairfax County Chief of Police Col. David Rohrer added.

Local Metro stations and high schools were also used to scope out victims.

The girls were typically 16 to 18 years old and were prostituted for several weeks or months, according to MacBride.

"The warning to parents is this is not isolated to any one community, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background," he said.

An investigation on the ring began last November.

In the past year, 11 Northern Virginia gangs have faced sex trafficking charges.

Accused ring leader Justin Strom charged Thursday, along with Michael Tavon Jefferies, 21, of Woodbridge; Donyel Dove, 27, of Alexandria; Henock Ghile, 23, of Springfield; and Christopher Sylvia, 22, of Springfield.

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