Monday, April 23, 2018
Public safety

St. Pete woman accused of pimping teens surrenders to FBI

ST. PETERSBURG — A 21-year-old woman accused of child sex trafficking in Pinellas County turned herself in to federal authorities Friday morning.

Keosha Renee Jones surrendered at 9 a.m. in a parking lot along Fourth Street, just days after the FBI filed court documents accusing her of pimping out two teenage girls earlier this year.

Jones lives in St. Petersburg but has ties to the Port St. Lucie area. In a statement Thursday, the FBI said agents thought the young woman might have fled to Miami.

Jones is accused of prostituting two 14-year-olds in December and January. Officials said Jones made the girls, both runaways, have sex in Pinellas County. She kept the money they made, authorities said.

The FBI said Jones used the classified ad website backpage.com to solicit clients.

She knew the two girls were runaways, according to a criminal complaint. She had seen a flier about the missing girls posted in a gas station near the Bayway Inn, 4400 34th St. S, where authorities say she was making them have sex.

After seeing the flier, Jones told the girls to take down their Facebook pages, the complaint states, because she believed police would be looking for them.

She had her first court appearance Friday afternoon in Tampa. A prosecutor asked that she be held without bail while her court-appointed defense attorney said he was not prepared to argue for her release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Pizzo scheduled a detention hearing and probable cause hearing for 9 a.m. Tuesday, during which the defense can make a case for Jones' release.

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