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A former D.C. police officer has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he paid two teenage girls for sex.
Chukwuemeka Ekwonna, of Glenn Dale, Maryland, pleaded guilty in Baltimore on Tuesday to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, according to court records.
Ekwonna, now 29, was a Metropolitan Police Department officer when he exchanged more than 250 text messages and social media messages with two girls, ages 14 and 15, and paid both for sex, U.S. Attorney Robert Hur's office said in a statement.
The incidents happened between October 2016 and February 2017. The girls were both ninth graders.
Ekwonna was arrested in April 2017.
Court documents from that time show the 15-year-old told authorities she met a man on social media who offered her $80 for sex. After they met and had sex, she said the man pointed a gun at her and took his money back. The man was later identified as Ekwonna, police said.
Messages between Ekwonna and the 14-year-old suggest that she knew he was a police officer, according to prosecutors.
Ekwonna had been with the police department for 14 months at the time of his arrest. He was then terminated.
"Police officers are sworn to protect our communities, not prey on our youth," Hur said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our partners to bring traffickers to justice and protect our most vulnerable."
Ekwonna faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison under his plea agreement with prosecutors.
He is scheduled to be sentenced May 10.