SCALES OF JUSTICE

SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Tyrone Larry Smith, 40, of Shreveport, Louisiana, was sentenced Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. to serve 50 years in federal prison for sex trafficking a minor female from Texas. Smith pleaded guilty on March 7, 2019.

Tyrone Smith began communicating with a 14-year-old female from Texas over an internet-based “dating service” in June of 2015. Using internet communications, he convinced her to travel to Shreveport, making representations that he wanted to start a relationship with her. She agreed and took a bus to Shreveport.

When she encountered Smith, he informed her that she would be engaging in prostitution, and implied that there would be consequences if she did not cooperate.

Smith posted advertisements on a website using photographs of the victim in various stages of undress, with descriptions of her services, to advertise the victim’s prostitution. He listed his number on the page for customers to call, and he coached the victim on what prices to charge and how to question customers to ensure they were not undercover police officers.

If she resisted, Smith used force and physical violence to force her into prostitution. At one point, the victim told Smith she wanted to return home. In response, the defendant struck her in the face and told her that she would continue to engage in prostitution.

Smith kept all of the money from the acts of prostitution.

During an undercover online investigation, authorities made contact with the victim via the internet and phone claiming to be a customer soliciting sex. They later arrived at a local hotel and arrested Smith.

The FBI and Shreveport Police Department investigated the case. 

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Those concerned may also leave tips with the FBI at tips.fbi.gov. Tips may be submitted anonymously. The Shreveport FBI office number is (318) 861-1890.

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