DENVER (AP) — More than 30 people in the Denver area face charges in a large prostitution bust that targeted customers, authorities say.

Nine of the people face felonies for patronizing a prostitute who was a 17-year-old high school student. Court documents obtained Wednesday show the investigation, involving local police departments and the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, began when the underage girl’s father discovered sexual images on her cellphone.

The documents say a woman recruited girls for a pimp, who placed advertisements on websites offering them for prostitution. That man, 40-year-old Carlos Stegall, was charged last year with a string of crimes including trafficking in children and child prostitution. The woman, Colleen Maury, 25, was charged with similar offenses.

Stegall’s attorney, Luke McConnell, said he was not able to comment on the case. Maury’s attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The 17-year-old told investigators Maury and Stegall taught her about the escort business, how to be a prostitute and how to determine whether potential clients were members of law enforcement, the documents say. They then kept the majority of the money the prostitutes earned. The girl said a friend of hers also worked for Stegall and Maury.

Phone records related to their cases and surveillance footage from hotels helped investigators identify at least 29 customers. Police say the crimes happened in October and November 2013.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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