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Pimp pleads guilty to taking advantage of runaway teen: DA

The Queens DA said Anthony Vargas, who pleaded guilty last week to prostitution charges, kept a runaway teen captive in this Ruscoe street apartment.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Jamaica man who kidnapped a teen, used her as a prostitute and then went on the lam to escape charges will be facing serious prison time when he is sentenced next month for his crimes, the Queens district attorney said.

Anthony Vargas, 22, of Ruscoe Street, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking Nov. 1, Queens DA Richard Brown said. Vargas had befriended a runaway 13-year-old last year and forced her to be his prostitute inside his uninhabitable apartment, according to the DA.

“This defendant held a troubled young runaway captive and used her for the sexual gratification of himself and others — from which he profited financially,” he said in a statement.

The unidentified victim met Vargas sometime in April 2010 and he took her back to his home, which did not have running water, and had sex with her several times, the DA said. From April 2 to April 12 of that year, he allegedly took her to various places in Queens, where he had her perform sex acts for money that he would keep, according to Brown.

Whenever Vargas would leave the apartment, he would lock the door and the victim would have no way to get out, Brown said. Police investigators from the missing persons squad were able to pry their way into the apartment and rescue her, the DA said.

Vargas was on the loose for seven months before he was found in Newport News, Va., Brown said.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Fernando M. Camacho indicated that he would sentence Vargas to an indeterminate term of four to 12 years in prison Nov. 22, the DA said. New state laws have increased the penalties for prostitution and sex trafficking in New York.

“Fortunately, state lawmakers have given prosecutors a new tool to bring those who victimize and exploit such vulnerable individuals to justice and put them behind bars for a long time,” Brown said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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