A 29-year-old St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy, the U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Andre James Hertzog admitted during his plea hearing on Tuesday that he and a co-conspirator, Nicole Bramer, also of St. Paul, engaged in a scheme to recruit two young women and compel them to engage in commercial sex acts, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Between April 2011 and August 2012, Hertzog and Bramer “used coercive tactics, including physical violence and psychological coercion, to isolate the victims and cause them” to engage in prostitution, the Justice Department said.

Hertzog admitted that he and Bramer transported the older victim across state lines as part of the scheme. He faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison.

Bramer pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy in May and faces a similar sentence.

The case was investigated by the Minneapolis FBI office and prosecuted by Mark Kappelhoff, a special assistant U.S. attorney, and trial attorneys Christine Siscaretti and Amanda Gregory of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Randy Furst