Courts

FBI: Would-be child sex trafficker caught in undercover sting at Sacramento bus station

Isaih Phelps via Facebook

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When 22-year-old Isaih Phelps arrived at the Sacramento Greyhound station last year, he was hoping to see a teenage girl he had ensnared into the dark underworld of prostitution, according to court papers.

Instead, FBI agents were waiting for him. Phelps was arrested and could face decades in prison for allegedly recruiting a decoy account, who he believed to be a young girl from Reno, to work as a prostitute for him.

In a criminal information filed earlier this month, prosecutors charged Phelps with one count of attempted enticement of a minor – a charge that could land him behind bars for the rest of his life. He has since pleaded guilty.

According to court documents, FBI agents created a decoy account using the likeness of a 16-year-old girl, who they paid for permission to use her photo. The girl agreed to appear on videocalls for authorities, but the account was otherwise controlled by undercover agents.

Phelps, using the screenname Rudeboii Drakeo, first contacted the decoy page in early November of last year. After two months, he introduced the topic of prostitution.

“A u tryna take a trip [and] make some money?” he asked. When the decoy account inquired on what she could do to make money, Phelps said she could strip, sell drugs, or work as a prostitute for him.

“Wat u were talkin about. bustin dates. Im 16 so idk everything,” the decoy later responded.

“Lmao zam u young,” Phelps said.

Soon, the conversations moved to text. Phelps made the decoy send photos of herself to prove she was real, which she did, and she told him her age. He didn’t seem to care and asked her if she was interested in Black men, if she could perform sex acts on him, and if she “liked girls.” The conversations around prostitution continued.

“Well ill be the one who fine the guys and talk prices all u [gotta] do is collect the money and do yo thang and bring me [back] da money,” Phelps texted. “But [you’ll] be taken care of. Food, clothes, jewelry, nails, hair. All that.”

In mid-January, the decoy participated in a video call with Phelps. After the call was completed, Phelps told her he intended to lie about her age and instructed her to delete all messages between them. He also said he was in the process of buying her a fake ID. He asked the decoy if she was OK with performing specific sex acts, then sent her a picture of his penis.

On January 15th, he tried to meet her at the Greyhound station. Phelps directed the decoy to pick up a fake ID from a woman he knew in Sparks, Nevada. That woman told investigators that she didn’t know the girl was underage and thought she needed it to use the bus because she didn’t have one. No charges have been filed against her.

Phelps texted the decoy throughout the day, trying to ensure she got on the bus that was headed to Sacramento. When the bus arrived there that afternoon, though, the decoy was nowhere to be seen. Blacked-out SUVs pulled up, and FBI agents took Phelps into custody.

He returns to court in May, where a federal judge will decide his fate. Prosecutors have asked the court to sentence Phelps to the low-end of a strict guideline range that includes a 10-year mandatory minimum.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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