‘Vampire Trucker’ strikes plea deal

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Just days before he was scheduled to go on trial in federal court, a man known as the "Vampire Trucker" has struck a plea bargain.

Timothy Vafeades, 56, pleaded guilty on Thursday to a pair of counts of illegally transporting people in interstate commerce for the purposes of sex. Under the deal, he'll be sentenced to 20 years in prison in November. Vafeades previously pleaded guilty to a charge of transporting child pornography.

Vafeades was accused of kidnapping women in 2012 and 2013 and keeping them as sex slaves in a semi named the "Twilight Express" that he drove across the country. The victims claim that when they tried to escape, he beat them unconscious. He was accused of taking a Dremel to one of the victims' teeth to give her "fangs." In an affidavit, FBI agents wrote that Vafeades wore his own set of vampire fangs.

A jail booking mug shot of Timothy Vafeades.

A jail booking mug shot of Timothy Vafeades.

In court on Thursday, Vafeades was pleasant and polite as he pleaded guilty. U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer read over the rights Vafeades would be waiving and the counts to which he would be pleading guilty.

"Are they true?" Nuffer asked Vafeades.

"Yes, your honor," he replied.

A jury was already being summoned for a trial that was to have begun on Tuesday and would have lasted weeks. The plea deal spares the victims from having to testify.

"It's a good step towards closure," Assistant U.S. Attorney for Utah Trina Higgins told reporters outside of court.

The women may testify at his sentencing, she said. In addition to the decades in prison, Vafeades would face a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of probation when he is released.