BILLINGS — A Nevada woman who admitted to bringing a minor girl to Billings for prostitution was sentenced today to eight years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Ashley Michael Stella, 29, of Reno, Nevada, pleaded guilty in December 2021 to transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters also ordered $2,500 restitution.
The government alleged in court documents that on April 21, 2021, law enforcement officers responded to a call of possible commercial sex activity at a Billings motel and knocked on the door of the suspect room. Stella, another individual and a 16-year-old girl, identified as Jane Doe 1, emerged. Jane Doe 1, from Nevada, indicated in interviews that she had met Stella in December 2020. Stella informed Jane Doe 1that she worked in commercial sex. Jane Doe 1 told law enforcement that she and Stella traveled to Montana in April from Nevada and that both had engaged in commercial sex. Stella told law enforcement she had met Jane Doe 1 in the fall of 2020 and learned her true age later that year. Stella also told investigators that the two had traveled from Nevada to Montana for the purpose of commercial sex and that she had asked Jane Doe 1 if she wanted to go on the trip.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus and Bryan T. Dake prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Montana Department of Justice’s Criminal Investigation Division, FBI and Billings Police Department.