Woman pleads no contest in human trafficking case, co-defendant faces trial in March

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A woman has pleaded no contest to a felony charge in a human trafficking case and her codefendant faces trial on allegations he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old and forced her to engage in sex acts with other men.

Aleaha Wheeler, 23, pleaded no contest Thursday to procuring the teen for prostitution, according to court records. Three other charges, including human trafficking of a minor, were dismissed.

She’s set for sentencing Feb. 4.

Melton Smith, 32, her co-defendant, is scheduled for trial March 28 on human trafficking and charges related to sexually assaulting a minor, according to court records.

The teen said she met Smith through Wheeler on Jan. 14 of last year and was taken to the Vagabond Inn on Colony Street, according to documents filed in court by investigators.

Smith made her put on red lingerie, photographed her in sexual poses then posted the photos to a website where prices were attached to photos of different girls listed as available for sex, according to the documents.

The teen told investigators she was forced to engage in sex acts with Smith and several other men over the next few days. Smith threatened, choked and slapped her when she asked to go home, she said according to the documents.

On Jan. 18, she was dropped off near her home, the documents say.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More Local News