An Inglewood couple was sentenced to federal prison Thursday after being caught in multiple sting operations, arranging a sexual encounter involving themselves, other pedophiles and underage girls when the other parties were actually undercover officers with the FBI and New Jersey State Police, prosecutors said.
Jorge Castillo, 37, and his girlfriend, Katherine Briones, 43, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal activity and production of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a news release.
Castillo was given 25 years in prison, while Briones was sentenced to 15 years. She was also ordered to contribute $5,000 to a fund for sex trafficking victims, officials said.
Castillo must still face additional state charges in New Jersey of first-degree conspiracy to commit child trafficking and second-degree distribution of child pornography.
Authorities began investigating the couple after Castillo contacted an undercover FBI officer via social media in March 2017, prosecutors said.
The pair spent the next few weeks corresponding with the agent as they allegedly sought to arrange a meeting between him and an underage girl. During their conversations, Castillo had brought up someone he knew on the East Coast who may also be interested and able to help.
But that second contact was actually an undercover detective with the New Jersey State Police, who had told the defendants he had access to a female minor, officials said.
Eventually, Castillo and Briones arranged to have two girls brought to Los Angeles so that they could engage in sex acts with them, according to investigators.
They had allegedly booked hotel rooms for the girls they thought were coming as well as the two undercover officers.
But on the day they were all supposed to meet up — April 4, 2017 — Castillo and Briones wound up being arrested at Los Angeles International Airport.
Authorities then seized their cellphones and uncovered pornographic images of children.
Both have remained in custody since that day.
When they are eventually released, they will be placed under mandatory parole — Castillo for the rest of his life, and Briones for seven years, officials said.
The pair must also register as sex offenders for 25 years upon their release.