KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — A Kansas City man will spend 18 years in federal prison after admitting to a sex trafficking conspiracy involving four victims.
Cory Lavell Smith, 28, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking. His sentence does not come with a chance at parole; after his prison time, Smith will also serve 20 years of supervised release.
Federal officials began their investigation into Smith back in January 2019 when Homeland Security agents in Kansas City received a tip about a missing 14-year-old girl.
Homeland Security said the 14-year-old had been apprehended in Blue Springs after a crash involving a stolen vehicle. At a local hospital, she reported that she had been forced to have sex for money.
Federal agents used her phone to identify a home in Mississippi where they found a second victim who was 16 years old. That teen helped agents locate the 14-year-old at a home in Kansas City.
Investigators approached Smith at the home, and he sped off in a vehicle, leading to a chase. Homeland Security ultimately arrested the 28-year-old and the 14-year-old into protective custody.
The 14-year-old told officials that Smith was her “pimp,” and he had groomed her into the commercial sex trade. The girl said he befriended her, provided her with drugs and deprived her of food.
According to Homeland Security, the girl said Smith would drive her to local motels to conduct sex acts with other men. The 16-year-old victim told investigators that Smith continuously threatened and abused them. One of the girls identified two other victims.
Homeland Security said Smith admitted to participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy for several months in 2018 and 2019.
A co-defendant, Kenyashae Monae Roach, also pleaded guilty earlier this year to transportation for illegal sexual activity. She is still waiting to be sentenced.