ATLANTA – The Georgia Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit convicts first undercover chat case with Gwinnett County man.
Attorney General Chris Carr announced that Demonte Engle has pleaded guilty to one count of Human Trafficking following an undercover investigation conducted by the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office in 2021. This is the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit’s first undercover chat case, whereas the defendant solicited a purported 14-year-old female online for sex but was actually communicating with an undercover officer. This also marks the fourth conviction to be obtained by the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit since July 25, 2022.
“By partnering with local law enforcement, our Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit is utilizing every available resource to apprehend buyers before they reach potential victims,” said Carr. “Demonte Engle took active steps to solicit a purported 14-year-old female for sex, and now he is paying the price for his illegal actions. This is a novel case and should send a message to all those who attempt to exploit our children by engaging in this criminal industry – you will be stopped and held accountable.”
This case stems from an investigation and arrest conducted by the Gwinnett County Sherriff’s Office TRACE Unit in 2021. Demonte Engle, between the dates of Oct. 19, 2021, and Nov. 1, 2021, solicited an individual online for commercial sex, offering to pay her cash for sexual activity. The individual who Engle was communicating with purported to be a 14-year-old female but was in fact an undercover officer posing as a child. Engle himself falsely told the undercover officer that he was 17 years old. On Nov. 1, 2021, after days of soliciting the purported teen online, Engle offered to pay $40 to have sexual intercourse with the purported 14-year-old and traveled to an agreed-upon location in Buford, Georgia, to meet for the exchange. At that time, Engle was arrested by the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. Engle was subsequently indicted by the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit in January 2022.
This case is the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit’s first to be prosecuted under a specific portion of the human trafficking statute which allows for prosecution when an offender solicits commercial sex from an individual who the accused believes to be under 18 years old, allowing for the use of undercover officers.
Guilty Plea and Sentence
Demonte Engle pleaded guilty in Gwinnett County Superior Court on Oct. 24, 2022. The Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit recommended a sentence of 25 years to serve five years in prison, while counsel for Engle argued for a sentence of probation. A Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge accepted the plea and set Engle’s sentence at 25 years to serve five years of house arrest. Engle will also be required to register as a sex offender.
A summary of the charge against Engle, 23, of Gwinnett County, is included below:
- Did knowingly solicit a person said accused believed to be under the age of 18 years for the purpose of sexual servitude.
About the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
In 2019, with the support of Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp and leaders in the Georgia General Assembly, Attorney General Chris Carr created the first-of-its-kind statewide Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
In 2021, the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit initiated 25 cases, arrested nine individuals, investigated and prosecuted 51 defendants, and rescued and assisted 107 victims.
During the 2022 legislative session, Carr secured additional resources to expand the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and rescue even more victims.