By Peter Franceschina and Alexia Campbell, Sun Sentinel9:18 p.m. EST, February 8, 2012
A West Palm Beach man who goes by the name “Shagg Dogg” and was wanted for sex-trafficking a runaway minor was tracked down and arrested Tuesday by federal authorities in Texas.
The FBI and a human-trafficking task force arrested Rashad Emon Clark around 7 p.m. Tuesday in North Houston without incident, Miami FBI spokesman Michael Leverock said.
Clark will be extradited to South Florida to face the criminal charges. FBI officials offered no other details on his capture.
Clark, 33, is the alleged “pimp” who lured a runaway 14-year-old girl into prostitution last week with the help of one of his prostitutes, Mandi Lynn Bowman, according to authorities. Both face up to life imprisonment on charges of sex-trafficking a minor.
West Palm Beach police found the 14-year-old girl offering prostitution services at the Days Inn on 45th Street on Feb. 2, the same day her stepfather reported her missing and possibly engaged in prostitution to West Palm Beach police, according to a federal arrest affidavit.
The girl had disappeared from home a few days earlier, and Clark allegedly found her at a convenience store and gave her his phone number, and then lured her into prostitution, the affidavit says.
West Palm Beach police were able to quickly find the missing girl by searching online escort ads on backpage.com and discovered what appeared to be a listing for her.
An undercover officer posing as a “john” called the number in the ad and spoke to the girl, who told him to meet her at the Days Inn, near Interstate 95. The officers met the girl in the parking lot and explained their investigation.
That’s when the girl told officers how she met Clark, her “pimp,” and Bowman, one of his prostitutes, the affidavit says.
Bowman, 22, was arrested and is being held without bond, until she has a court hearing later this month. Clark apparently managed to get away during the initial investigation, but the FBI tracked him to the Houston area.
South Florida is considered by law enforcement officials to be a hot spot for sex trafficking because of its international airports and ports, and its tourism-based economy. No single agency keeps track of the number of girls and women who end up being trafficked, but it is estimated to be a $32 billion business nationally.
During the girl’s first meeting with Clark at the convenience store, Clark talked to her about becoming a prostitute, and he had two prostitutes with at the time, the affidavit says.
The next day Clark brought the girl to the Days Inn and paid $40 to have sex with her, according to the affidavit. He then explained how much money she could make for various sex acts — $250 an hour or more — and how much of that he would keep.
“Clark also advised the juvenile victim that she had to choose money or friends,” the affidavit says.
The following day, Clark again brought the girl to the hotel, had sex with her and supplied her with condoms, the affidavit says, while Bowman taught the girl the ways of a prostitute, took pictures of her and posted her escort listing online.
The girl had sex with one man, and another man performed a sex act in her presence, before police found her, according to the affidavit.
The cellular telephone numbers for Clark and Bowman show up in several online escort ads. At one point, Bowman was offering her services in New York.
Clark and Bowman face federal charges that carry hefty prison terms. Each is charged with sex trafficking a child, punishable by up to 40 years in prison, and enticing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, punishable by a minimum 10 years in prison and up to life.
The victim currently is in custody of the state Department of Children & Families, West Palm Beach police said.
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