Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two charged in Pinellas in connection with sex trafficking of foster child

LARGO — A woman accused of sex trafficking a 14-year-old foster child and the man deputies say purchased the teen's services have been arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Wanda Ringgo, 60, of Largo was jailed without bail Thursday on one count of human trafficking, a life felony, and one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession. She also uses the last name Taylor.

Records show that the man arrested in the case, Mohand Rashid, 25, of St. Petersburg, posted $10,000 bail Friday and was released. He was arrested Thursday on one count of lewd and lascivious battery, a second-degree felony.

According to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the teen has been in and out of foster care since age 5.

Three weeks ago, he said, she and a friend were staying a few days with Ringgo when Ringgo told the friend to leave.

Ringgo told the girl that an adult male, Rashid, was coming over for sex and that Ringgo would pocket money from the encounter.

Rashid sexually abused the girl and said he intended to return for more, authorities said.

"This is really a sad, grotesque situation," Gualtieri said, "that you have a parental figure that needs some money and is willing to prostitute out a 14-year-old girl and to have a 14-year-old be subjected to this type of activity."

The Sheriff's Office began investigating after the girl told someone, who reported the information to investigators.

Gualtieri said Rashid admitted to the encounter and that he knew the girl was underage but said he thought the girl was a couple of years older.

During questioning, Ringgo used "accusatory and derogatory" terms to describe the victim and refused to speak to investigators, the sheriff said.

Ringgo and Rashid met at a Largo convenience store where Rashid works and Ringgo is a customer, Gualtieri said.

Investigators are providing counseling and other services to the teen, who remains in the foster care system.

Authorities are investigating whether there were other victims.

The case was the Sheriff's Office's second in as many days involving sex with minors.

Leonardo Lopez-Navarro, 33, of Clearwater was charged Wednesday with sending sexually explicit text messages to two 12-year-old girls he met while working at the inflatable slides on Clearwater Beach.

Gualtieri said it's possible an increase in cases his office has seen is due to recently aggressive investigation.

However, he believes the main factor is success in the war on drugs.

"As we clamp down on drug trafficking and make strides there, they turn to other … illegal means to make money," Gaultieri said. "Unfortunately, this is the worst of the worst, because they're not just migrating from selling illegal drugs to guns to other commodities. They're doing it with young girls and young kids."

He said the Sheriff's Office will "dedicate all the resources that we have available to detecting this type of horrendous activity and putting these people in jail for a long time."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at ksummers@tampabay.com.

Two charged in Pinellas in connection with sex trafficking of foster child 11/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 8, 2013 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.