Investigators say a teen's father smuggled him from Honduras all the way to Hunstville, Ala. - and then sold the boy for sex to another man, according to AL.com.
Now the Alabama man accused of paying the boy's father for permission to have sex with the 15-year-old has pleaded guilty to federal charges of commercial sex trafficking, coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution, and being a convicted felon in possession of firearms, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He is expected to be sentenced in September.
Investigators say 63-year-old Billy Edwards paid a 38-year-old father for permission to have sex with the man's teenage son starting in 2014, according to WHNT.
Justice Department officials say Edwards paid the dad by check and the two used cellphones to "induce or coerce" the teen to engage in sexual conduct.
After a few months, Edwards stopped paying for the encounters - which is when police say the dad threatened to turn the cellphone with evidence of Edwards' and the boy's communication over to police.
Edwards eventually paid $20,350to the dad in an attempt to get the potentially incriminating evidence, according to AL.com. Officials say they have incriminating text messages and photos that back up their case.
The teen told law enforcement about what happened in May of 2017, according to WHNT.
Sheriff’s deputies searched Edwards' home that month, where they say they found four firearms he was not supposed to have because he was convicted of a federal fraud charge in 2005, the DOJ said in a news release.
The boy's father is facing charges of commercial sex trafficking and coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution, according to the DOJ, though his trial date has not yet been set. He was also indicted in May 2017 of illegally re-entering the U.S. after being previously removed two times.
“The trafficking of any human being, especially a child, is unconscionable, unthinkable, and unforgivable,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said in a news release. “Our Human Trafficking Task Force remains committed to bringing these despicable traffickers to justice and we have reserved bed space in prison for them all, which will only serve as temporary quarters on their road to perdition.”
Edwards could face a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $750,000 fine.