Edwin "Boo" Barcus, Jr., a 27-year-old Georgia man described by federal prosecutors as the ringleader of a sex business that prostituted juvenile girls in Georgia, Virginia and four other states in the Southeast, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Alexandria to engaging in a child exploitation enterprise.
Barcus now faces a sentence of 20 years to a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced June 7 by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said Barcus made his living "exploiting vulnerable young girls and luring them into prostitution."
"Barcus saw these girls as his property — even making them get tattoos with his nickname," MacBride told the Washington Times. "Thanks to the FBI, Fairfax County Police Department and the members of our Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, his operation is shut down and can no longer victimize these girls."
According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Barcus led a commercial sex organization starting in 2007 that prostituted at least 23 women, including four who were 16 and at least three who were 17 when Barcus began prostituting them.
He targeted young girls who were runaways or came from broken homes.
He controlled the girls using violence, drugs and alcohol, according to the Times. Barcus used Backpage.com and other erotic sites to advertise the girls' services and to recruit girls, according the report said.
In November Barcus was prostituting at least one juvenile in Herndon, Va., while another member of his organization was prostituting other girls in Atlanta, according to court records.
Barcus admitted that each girl servicing clients in Herndon could obtain $500 or more per day. All of the money was turned over to him or other members of his crew.
In addition to Georgia and Virginia, he operated in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Florida.