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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Area Man Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of a Child

            Fort Smith, Arkansas - Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Gage James Lester, age 20, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison followed by three (3) years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of a Child.  The sentencing hearing took place before the Honorable Chief Judge P. K. Holmes, III in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.  

            According to court records, during an FBI interview, Lester was identified as providing an underage female for sex to another human trafficker he was associated with.  The fifteen-year-old female initially denied being trafficked by Lester, but later admitted to being trafficked and said she lied because she was trying to protect him.  She detailed how her and another then fourteen-year-old female were trafficked by Lester during the summer of 2014.  She stated that Lester advertised them as prostitutes and that most of the money that was made by them was given to him.  The FBI identified three ads posted in the “Fort Smith Escorts” section of the website that were used to advertise the two females.  Lester was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 28, 2015 and pleaded guilty on April 25, 2016.  

            This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Smith Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Aaron Jennen prosecuted the case for the United States.

            This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and their Criminal Division Child Exploitation and Obscenity Sections (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals 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.

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Related court documents may be found on Public Access to Electronic Records Website @www.Pacer.gov

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated September 7, 2016