United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that James Eugene Larive, Jr., age 43, of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, was found guilty of Commercial Sex Trafficking as a result of a federal jury trial held in U.S. District Court in Rapid City. Following a two-day trial, the jury returned the guilty verdict on April 4, 2014.
The charge carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 5 years up to life of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
“We will bring the full weight of justice down on anyone who wants to pay money to have sex with a child in South Dakota,” said Johnson. “We are grateful for the outstanding work of our state, local and federal law enforcement partners in this case.”
Larive was one of nine men who were arrested and federally indicted as a result of an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted during the 2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, targeting persons willing to pay to have sex with underage girls obtained through the Internet. All nine men were indicted for Commercial Sex Trafficking.
This conviction stems from Larive responding to a Craigslist.com advertisement posted by Division of Criminal Investigation undercover agents, which purported to offer young girls for sex. Following several emails with a person Larive believed to be associated with a 15-year old girl, but who was in fact an undercover agent, he proceeded to negotiate the time and place they would meet, along with the price he would pay, which was the trade of an expensive smart phone.
Of the nine original defendants, five have pled guilty. One has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, another to 7 years, and the other three await sentencing. The remaining 3 defendants are scheduled for trial.
The undercover operation and arrests were a joint effort between the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Collins is prosecuting the cases.
Larive was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.