Montana man sentenced to prison for human trafficking

BIG FALLS — Lavondrick Terelle Hogues of New Mexico, who was convicted of aggravated promotion of prostitution in June 2021, was sentenced Friday in Billings.

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

An undercover agent from the Montana Criminal Investigation Division found a posting on a website 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 women was only 17 years old. The woman traveling with the minor was convicted of the crime of promoting prostitution in 2016.

The investigation revealed that the woman was constantly reporting her, location, activities, customers and how much money they were making and spending, and sending pictures to Hogues.

Hogues made comments that they “better make some money”. Hogues and the woman also sent money back and forth via wire transfer and wire transfer.

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

District Judge Donald Harris of the Yellowstone County District Court sentenced Hogues on Friday to 15 years in Montana State Prison, including three years suspended.

“Our DOJ investigators and prosecutors have followed this multi-year case and have done an excellent job in winning a conviction that led to this sentence. Human and sex trafficking occurs in Montana, and we will continue our work to eliminate these crimes,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said in a press release. “It’s one of my top priorities as Attorney General to combat human trafficking in Montana, which includes finding these predators and holding them accountable.”

The case was prosecuted by attorneys for the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) following an investigation by the DOJ’s Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

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