GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – A Lansing man will serve at least 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex trafficking charges involving four female victims, one of them a minor.
Tyrone Smith, 46, will be sentenced next April after admitting to transporting the women to Lansing, Chicago and other areas to perform sex acts with johns. The minimum sentence will be 15 years in federal prison, with a possible 25 year maximum sentence.
This is the third federal sex trafficking conviction in the Western District of Michigan, following cases against Eddie Jackson and Christopher Bryant, and the fourth sex trafficking conviction in the last year as a result of the FBI’s joint investigation with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and other Lansing area law enforcement.
“Sex trafficking is real and happens in West Michigan,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles in an issued press release. “Traffickers target victims by identifying vulnerabilities to exploit, whether through drugs, money, violence, or a false sense of security and affection provided by the trafficker. My office is working hand-in-hand with federal, state, and local law enforcement to identify and prosecute human trafficking, including the sex trafficking of children.”
Just a few years ago, Smith was discharged from prison after serving 15 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections for second degree murder.
Federal authorities say in a written plea agreement, Smith admitted to recruiting his first sex trafficking victim in December 2012. Smith provided the adult woman with heroin, posted commercial sex ads of her online in lingerie, and arranged for johns to pay for sex with her in Lansing, Chicago and other areas over a two-year period.
Smith admitted to being physically violent with his first victim, continually threatening her to keep her engaging in sex acts with johns.
In December 2014, Smith recruited a 17-year-old girl for sex trafficking purposes, arranging for johns to have sex with her in his Lansing residence and at area motels up until June 2015. Smith also took the teenage victim to Chicago for the same purposes in early 2015.
Federal authorities say the teenage sex trafficking victim witnessed Smith assault another woman for her disloyalty to Smith’s prostitution business. In June 2015, Smith grabbed the minor by the neck and threw her on a bed at a Lansing motel to keep her from leaving with a cell phone he’d given her, which had a large amount of information on it concerning his prostitution business.
The 17-year-old later sought medical treatment after the attack for a concussion, cuts on her nose, along with bruising on her face and body.
Smith later admitted to re-connecting with the 17-year-old after the attack and continued to arrange commercial sex dates for her.
Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury for these sex trafficking crimes in July 2015, leading to this recent guilty plea.