SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A Louisiana man is going to prison for 50 years for convincing a teenage girl to catch a bus from Texas then physically forcing her into prostitution.
Tyrone Larry Smith, 40, of Shreveport, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Shreveport.
He pleaded guilty to a federal sex trafficking charge March 7.
Smith began by communicating with the 14-year-old from Texas over an internet-based "dating service” in June 2015, U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph’s office reports.
He indicated that he wanted to start a relationship with the child and convinced her to travel to Shreveport.
When she got there, Smith informed her that she would be engaging in prostitution and implied that there would be consequences if she did not cooperate, the federal prosecutor’s office states.
Smith then posted photographs of the girl in various stages of undress on the website Backpage.com. The advertisements included descriptions of her services and his number for customers to call.
He also coached the teenager on what to charge her customers and how to ensure they were not undercover law enforcement officers, authorities say.
At one point, Smith struck the girl in the face when she told him she wanted to return home. And he told her she would continue to engage in prostitution.
Authorities caught Smith during an undercover investigation.
Posing as a customer soliciting sex, the contacted the girl online then by phone.
They arrested Smith when they later arrived at a Shreveport hotel.
He is one of four men nationwide who were sentenced this week for sexual crimes involving children.
- Adam Donald Bennet, 36, of Denton County, Texas, got 50 years in federal prison on a charge of sexual exploitation of children. Court documents show he began chatting online with an undercover officer in June 2018. During those communications, he acknowledged to engaging in sexual acts with minors and sent videos of his abuse of a child in North Texas to the undercover officer, according to the criminal complaint.
- Juan Carlos Carmona, 37, of Houston, got 25 years in federal prison for having sex with a minor and for taking the 15-year-old girl across state lines to have sex with her. In April 2018, he traveled from Houston to Kansas to meet the teenager. His purpose was to get a hotel room and have sex with the girl, federal prosecutors say. He then returned to Houston. The next month, he returned to Kansas, picked up the child and took her to Houston, where he intended to have sex with her.
- Antonio Wright, 42, of Baltimore, Md., got 25 years in federal prison for producing child pornograhy and for using text messages and an online social network to coerce and entice an underage girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct beginning when she was 11 years old. The messages frequently included his declarations of love for her and suggested that they should eventually get married, federal prosecutors say. He instructed her not to tell others that she has “an older man for a boyfriend” and told her that he would get in trouble if anyone found out.
All four men were prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide Justice Department initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child abuse and child sexual exploitation.
Anyone who suspects human trafficking can leave a tip for the FBI by clicking here. Tips may be submitted anonymously.