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Man sentenced to 15 years for human trafficking in Billings after DOJ wins conviction

BILLINGS – A New Mexico man who was convicted of aggravated promotion of prostitution last June was sentenced to 15 years at Montana State Prison with three suspended Friday in Yellowstone County District Court before District Judge Donald L. Harris. The case was prosecuted by Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys following an investigation by the DOJ Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI).

While keeping in contact and directing activities over phone calls and text messages, Lavondrick Terelle Hogues, sent a woman and a 17-year-old girl on a trip across the country to work as prostitutes in 2015, including in New Mexico, Texas, North Dakota, and Montana.

“Our DOJ investigators and prosecutors kept up with this multi-year case and did a great job winning a conviction that led to this sentence. Human and sex trafficking are happening in Montana, and we will continue our work to eliminate these crimes,” Attorney General Austin Knudsen said. “It is one of my top priorities as attorney general to fight human trafficking in Montana, which includes finding these predators and holding them accountable.”

A DCI agent acting in an undercover capacity found a website posting that offered “escort services.” He called the phone number and made arrangements to meet at a Billings hotel. Upon entering the room, he identified himself as a police officer and learned that one of the females was only 17-years old. The woman traveling with the minor was convicted of felony promotion of prostitution in 2016.

An ensuing investigation found that the woman constantly reported her and the minor’s location, activities, patrons, and how much money they were making and spending, and sent photos to Hogues. He made comments to the effect that they “better get to making some money.” Hogues and the woman also sent money back and forth using electronic and wire transfers.

He was eventually arrested by New Mexico authorities and extradited to Montana and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Department of Justice attorneys Chris McConnell and Melissa Broch prosecuted the case.

Click here to read the charging documents.