LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A self-described “cross-country pimp'' from Gardena faces resentencing today after an appeals court vacated his 40-year federal prison term for forcing seven girls -- including one who was 13 years old -- to work as prostitutes.
Laron Darrell “Birdd'' Carter, 44, was convicted five years ago in Los Angeles federal court on 14 counts of sex trafficking related to minors.
In November 2018, a federal appeals court reversed the convictions on two counts and vacated the sentences on all counts for technical reasons. The court subsequently dismissed the two outstanding charges after the victim failed to appear for the retrial.
Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Virginia A Phillips to resentence Carter to life behind bars. The defense is asking for 15 years, which would call for Carter's release in six years due to the more than seven years he has spent in federal custody and expected time off for good behavior.
Evidence at trial showed that the Crips gang member trafficked girls as young as 13 and subjected some of them to beatings, which included victims being punched in the face and whipped with a belt.
Carter's conduct spanned a decade as he prostituted the seven minor victims and transported them from California to Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Washington, D.C., and Nevada, prosecutors wrote.
The case stemmed from the 2013 rescue of a 16-year-old girl, who told investigators that she had been recruited by Carter to travel from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. When she arrived in Southern California, Carter forced her into prostitution, she said. Carter took the teenager to a hotel in El Segundo and advertised her services on backpage.com.
The victim ran away at one point, but found herself lost with no money and returned, according to court documents.
“When she returned, defendant beat her and whipped her with a belt for leaving,'' according to federal prosecutors.
After the victim was rescued, investigators located six other girls who had been coerced or physically forced into prostitution by Carter between 2003 and 2010.
During the trial, the jury in downtown Los Angeles saw Facebook postings in which Carter described himself as a “cross-country pimp'' who worked for “Pimpin' International.'' The jury also saw photos of tattoos with the “Birdd'' moniker that victims were forced to get, prosecutors said.
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