OGDEN — One of three defendants in an Ogden sex trafficking case has pleaded guilty to reduced charges and is set to be sentenced next month.
Chandra Jones and two men were arrested last spring on allegations that they forced two 17-year-old girls to provide commercial sex at an Ogden motel.
In an agreement with prosecutors, Jones, 35, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree felony engaging in a pattern of illegal activity, reduced from the original first-degree felony charges.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office in return dropped two felony charges of aggravated exploitation of prostitution.
A plea bargain document filed in court in June said Jones admitted participating in the trafficking operation.
In charging documents, state prosecutors alleged Jones posted commercial sex ads on internet apps and also entertained sex clients herself.
An arrest affidavit alleged Jones threatened to make one of the girls “unrecognizable” if she did not follow instructions.
Police documents also said Jones had conflicts with the alleged leader of the ring, David Anthony Mackey, 42.
Investigators said they had a recorded phone conversation in which Jones told Mackey she wanted “her half of the money or no one is going to make any money.”
She said Mackey had all the proceeds from the commercial sex, and one of the girls never got her promised share.
Jones is free pending sentencing Sept. 17 before Judge Michael DiReda.
While she was in jail, Lora Martin, Jones’ aunt, sent a letter to the court urging leniency for Jones.
“Chandra has gone through some dark times and was on her way to seeing some type of light,” Martin said. “So I’m just asking (the court) to show some mercy and not sentence her to prison if that is an option.”
One of the girls was a juvenile justice runaway, and the suspects offered to help the girls make money, charging documents said.
The crimes allegedly occurred in June and July 2019 and were disclosed in September by one of the victims to a therapist, who alerted authorities.
The third defendant, Andre Gomez, instructed the girls to take nude photos of themselves that were later posted on adult websites and in ads for commercial sex, according to the indictments.
The girls then traveled to Ogden on FrontRunner and met with Mackey and Jones, who taught them how and where to post photos and ads, the indictment said. Jones told the girls how to act with men who responded to the ads.
Both girls had sex with multiple men on their first night at the hotel, authorities alleged. The money collected went into a “community bowl,” meaning Mackey’s and Jones’s pockets, one of the girls told authorities.
One of the girls returned to Salt Lake two days later and resisted enticements to return to Ogden, charging documents said.
The remaining girl said she was slapped and threatened by Jones after she had sex with a friend of Mackey, at Mackey’s insistence, without payment.
A preliminary hearing for Mackey and Gomez is scheduled Sept. 14. They both remain jailed.