In April, police discovered a teen-age girl in a Chantilly hotel with two men and charged both of them with pandering. In June, one of the men, Miguel Angelo Castro, entered an Alford plea in court.
He didn't admit guilt, but acknowledged that enough evidence existed to convict him of the charge of which he was accused. Last Friday, he returned to court once more and was sentenced to three months in jail — and time behind bars is just what the prosecutor had requested.
"This defendant — although his record is of petit crimes — is certainly no stranger to the criminal justice system," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Murphy. "He was helping a female prostitute herself. I believe a period of incarceration, followed by active probation, is appropriate. This defendant seems to think a life of crime pays."
According to police, Det. Jeffrey Hunt of the City of Fairfax Police Department was investigating a case of a runaway, 16-year-old girl along the I-95 corridor. And on April 1, the trail led him to the Fairfield Inn at 3960 Corsair Court in Chantilly.
He then notified Fairfax County police since the hotel is in their jurisdiction. And, said police, when officers responded, they found the girl there with Castro, 26, of 8501 Allentown Road, Fort Washington, Md., and Joshua Brandon Tart, 26, of 13110 Point Pleasant Drive in Chantilly.
Both were charged with pandering and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The latter charge against Castro was later dropped in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
But on June 19, the grand jury indicted him on the other offense, stating that, between March 11 and April 1, he "did knowingly receive money from a female engaged in prostitution." And on June 27 in Circuit Court, Castro entered his Alford plea of guilt.
AT THAT TIME, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Camille Turner explained that further investigation revealed that the teen-ager and the two men had met in March when she ran away from home. Turner said Castro and Tart then "began posting ads on the Internet advertising sex [from the girl] on craigslist.org."
Once prospective customers responded, she said, "Arrangements [for sex] were made by phone, and the girl would provide oral sex or sexual intercourse for a previously arranged fee. The proceeds were used to purchase food, hotel rooms, drugs and alcohol."
Turner said Castro stated that he waited outside the room while the girl and the clients were inside. She said that, after his arrest on April 1, the solidly built Castro told police Det. Wayne Promisel that "he was to provide security if he had to, but it wasn't necessary."
Last Friday, July 28, Castro came to court for sentencing. His defense attorney, Kimberly Phillips, told Judge Gaylord Finch her client has "learned a hard lesson" and "this is his first felony conviction." His prior convictions were for misdemeanor assault in Virginia Beach and traffic infractions.
Noting Castro's red uniform, Phillips said he was a trustee in jail. She then asked Finch to give him a sentence within the state sentencing guidelines which, in this case, ranged from a day to three months behind bars.
Finch sentenced him to three years in prison, suspending all but three months, and placed Castro on three years active probation. He also ordered him to receive substance-abuse services "to include random urine screens."
Since Castro's already spent four months in jail, he no longer has any time to serve. Afterward, outside the courtroom, Phillips said she was "pretty happy" with the outcome. However, she added, "It's difficult with this type of thing. Nobody was forced into anything, but we as a society have decided this [behavior] isn't appropriate and is a crime, and [my client's] accepted it."
As for Tart, besides pandering, he's also charged with producing sexually explicit material and distributing marijuana to a minor. He's slated for an Aug. 21 jury trial in Circuit Court.