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Owner of Mesa youth soccer team accused of sex trafficking children

Felipe Pina was arrested last week and is facing six counts related to child prostitution.
Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

PHOENIX — The head of a non-profit youth soccer team was arrested last week after he allegedly sex-trafficked two young children to help pay off his debts. 

Felipe Pina, 28, is facing six counts related to child prostitution, according to court documents. 

Those counts include permitting a minor in his custody to engage in prostitution, receiving a benefit for placing a minor in the custody of someone for prostitution and transporting a minor for the purpose of prostitution. 

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Pina was arrested on Aug. 15 on charges of sex trafficking of a minor, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and having an outstanding warrant after a traffic stop in Mesa. 

Detectives with the Tempe Police Department were informed of Pina's alleged involvement in sexual offenses involving children. Pina was also named by an unidentified suspect as being involved in the sexual conduct of a young boy. 

Investigators found texts on the unidentified suspect's phone between him and Pina during May and June. 

In the texts, Pina discusses his financial troubles with the suspect and repeatedly asks the suspect for money to get his car from the impound lot, help with his youth soccer team or other needs. 

RELATED: Mesa man found guilty of sexually abusing babysitters in 2017

The pair begin talking about "kids" on May 24 and bringing 11- and 15-year-old boys to the suspect's Tempe home, distracting the younger child, giving him alcohol and to "play" with the young boy, who Pina allegedly described as "cute."

Pina used the suspect's car to pick up the boys in Gilbert later that night and took them to the suspect's home in Tempe. 

While the boys were at the suspect's home, Pina texted the suspect to "try and turn him out," referring to one of the children. 

Pina also texted the suspect asking whether this would settle his debt with the man. 

During an interview with police, Pina admitted that he knew the suspect had been arrested in Tempe for sexual crimes involving children, had a sexual interest in young boys and had seen child pornography on his computer. 

RELATED: Man accused of sexually assaulting teen outside church service in Glendale

Pina told police that he brought the children to the suspect's home so he could "mess around" and "play" with them but said he was just telling the suspect what he wanted to hear. 

Pina also told police that he and the 15-year-old boy left the suspect's home and he left the 11-year-old boy in the suspect's custody for a period of time. 

Pina is set to appear in court next on Aug. 26.