COLUMBIA, South Carolina (WJBF) — One man has plead guilty in an attempt to exploit a minor in a sexual manner.
According to authorities, Brian Leroy Watson, 50, of Blythewood, plead guilty to attempted sex trafficking of a minor and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a quantity of heroin.
According to investigators, Watson attempted to exploit a minor female victim in commercial sex in January and February 2016, and then, in March 2016, the victim disclosed to law enforcement that Watson, who is a heroin and crack cocaine dealer, sexually assaulted her.
Authorities say, even though Watson denied assaulting the victim, he did admit to prostituting her, and investigators found advertisements from Backpage.com linked to Watson’s cell phone number and e-mail address revealing that the minor victim was advertised for commercial sex.
According to investigators, text messages from Watson’s phone also provided evidence that Watson knew the victim was a minor, and that he distributed heroin to and sexually exploited the minor victim.
Meanwhile, investigators add that another purported victim of Watson’s also told the FBI that Watson exploited the minor victim in commercial sex, and numerous witnesses told FBI that Watson manipulated the withdraw symptoms and drug dependence of women to obtain commercial sex for his financial gain.
Authorities say Watson sold a quantity of heroin in August 2016 to an undercover officer with the Richland County Sherriff’s Department.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Watson faces up to Life in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, restitution to all identifiable victims of his scheme, and a Life term of court-ordered supervision to follow any term of imprisonment, and he also must register as a sex offender upon any release from prison.