CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. - Deputies said a Shelby man was charged in a sex crime sting after he trafficked teen twin sisters from South Carolina to Cleveland County.
According to officials, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and sex crimes investigators launched a social media sting after the 14-year-old twins said Derrell Russell, 26, sexually assaulted one of them.
The twins told investigators they met Russell on Facebook and started talking to him through the Messenger app.
The girls said they thought Russell was closer to their age and agreed to meet up with him.
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Court documents state Russell picked the girls up from their South Carolina home in March and brought them to a wooded area in Cleveland County, where he sexually assaulted one of them.
Detective Matt Sadler with the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office said the girl told a resource officer at her school what happened and the officer reported it to the sheriff's office.
Investigators said after they got word of the incident, they logged into the girl's Facebook pretending to be her and set up a meeting with Russell.
Officials said Russell thought he was meeting up with the victim again Wednesday, but detectives were there instead.
According to officials, the girl's age was on her Facebook, but that didn't stop Russell from connecting with her and her sister seeking sex.
"Watch your kids," said Sadler. "There are so many dangers in social media that parents need to keep a rein on their children."
Sadler said the case is not what people think of when they think of human trafficking, but to a child at the mercy of an adult the impact is damaging.
"We see a lot of cases like this where children or young girls are being solicited," he said.
Russell is charged with second-degree kidnapping, first-degree kidnapping, statutory rape of a child by an adult, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, two counts of solicitation by computer and two counts of human trafficking a child victim.
He's being held under a $1 million bond.
The Cleveland County Sheriff's Office is a part of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
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