BALTIMORE — A former Washington D.C. police officer pleaded guilty in federal court to sex trafficking two underage girls, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland announced Tuesday.
Between October 2016 and January 2017, 29-year-old Chukwuekmeka Ekwonna of Glenn Dale, was accused of engaging in sexual conduct with a 14 and 15-year-old girls in exchange for money, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Ekwonna was a member of the Metropolitan Police Department in the District at the time of the crimes.
“Police officers are sworn to protect our communities, not prey on our youth,” U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our partners to bring traffickers to justice and protect our most vulnerable.”
Ekwonna joined the MPD in late January of 2016, according to his plea. Beginning in 2010, he kept an account on Tagged, a social media and dating platform that allows real-time chat based on user location. Between December 19, 2016 and April 5, 2017, Ekwonna sent about 200 text and Tagged messages with the 14-year-old girl. He offered to pay her in exchange for sex acts, eventually meeting her and engaging in such trades for sex on at least five occasions at different locations in the Annapolis area, including at a hotel and in his vehicle. Ekwonna typically paid the girl between $30 and $40 to have sex with him. Messages give the impression the girl knew Ekwonna was a police officer.
Ekwonna exchanged roughly 54 Tagged messages with the 15-year-old girl on Jan. 9, 2017, according to his plea. He offered to pay her to engage in sex as well, eventually meeting her in Glen Burnie and paying her $80 to engage in sex acts in the back of his car.
He faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, with a maximum of 20 years, according to his plea, as well as no fewer than five years of supervised release and the requirement to register as a sex offender. Ekwonna will be sentenced on May 10, 2019.