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.
According to the Montana Attorney General's Office, while keeping in contact and directing activities over phone calls and text messages, Lavondrick Terelle Hogues, 35, 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.
A Montana Division of Criminal Investigation agent acting undercover found a website posting that offered “escort services.” He called the phone number and made arrangements to meet at a Billings hotel.
When the agent entered the room he identified himself as a police officer and learned that one of the females was only 17. 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, extradited to Montana, and convicted.
“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 in a press release.