The following press release was issued on Monday, December 12, 2022 by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of California.
FRESNO, Calif. — Darnell Bernard Edwards, 33, of Antioch, pleaded guilty today to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in April and May 2019, Edwards transported two minors to the Desert Star Motel in Bakersfield and had them engage in prostitution. Edwards also transported the minors to other locations within California, supplied them with marijuana, and all three had the letter D and a crown tattooed on their bodies.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bakersfield Police Department with assistance from the Antioch Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa is prosecuting the case.
Edwards is scheduled to be sentenced on March 20, 2023, by U.S. District Judge Ana de Alba. Edwards faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison, a fine of $250,000, a lifetime term of supervised release, forfeiture of property, and possible restitution to victims. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.