BILLINGS — A Billings man accused in a large sex and drug trafficking investigation that involved multiple victims, including minors, admitted to crimes today, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
William Maurice Newkirk, also known as “Pelly,” 41, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging him with sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, use of facility in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and transportation of a person with intent to engage in prostitution. Newkirk faces a mandatory minimum 15 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years to a lifetime of supervised release on the sex trafficking crime and a mandatory minimum five years to life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release on the firearms crime.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters set sentencing for May 12. Newkirk was detained pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that in December 2018, Newkirk and an individual, identified as Jane Doe 1, began dating and had a tumultuous relationship. About this time, Newkirk met another individual, identified as Jane Doe 2. In February 2019, Jane Doe 2 started working in commercial sex for Newkirk, who provided her with cocaine in connection with commercial sex calls, posted ads and corresponded with customers. Newkirk kept the money from the commercial sex calls and decided how much to provide to Jane Doe 2. Newkirk had Jane Doe 2 stay up late doing commercial sex calls because he needed the money. Jane Doe 2 worked for Newkirk in Billings and elsewhere until about May 2019.
The government further alleged that in May 2019, Newkirk transported Jane Doe 1 from Montana to Wyoming with the intent that she engage in prostitution. Investigators obtained electronic communications between Newkirk and Jane Doe 1, witness statements and commercial sex ads for Jane Doe 1 about the Wyoming trip.
In April 2019, the government alleged, Newkirk met an individual identified as Jane Doe 6, a minor, and the two ultimately spent time together. Jane Doe 6 began to work in commercial sex. Newkirk posted ads for her and corresponded with customers using his cellular phone, including setting up a commercial sex call at a business in Billings.
The government also alleged that in March 2019, Newkirk met a minor and her friends and provided them with a ride in Billings. Newkirk distributed cocaine to the minor and possessed a firearm during the drug transaction.
Three other co-defendants, Anthony Marcos Chadwell, Djavon Lamont King and Mario Juan Drake, have pleaded guilty to charges in the case and are awaiting sentencing. A fourth co-defendant, Dejon Anthony Duncan, has informed the Court that he intends to plead guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus, Bryan T. Dake and Benjamin D. Hargrove are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, the Billings Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.