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Oceanside man gets 30 years for sex trafficking of 17-year-old

A 41-year-old Oceanside man was sentenced in federal court Monday to 30 years in prison after being convicted of forcing a 17-year-old girl into prostitution.

Maurice Lerome Smith set up Internet ads offering sex with an underage female, according to testimony. He would drive the victim to motels, require her to meet a daily quota, and then keep the proceeds, often as much as $1,200 a day.

Smith first met the teen while she was walking in San Diego, forced her into his car, beat her with a belt and raped her, according to testimony at a three-day trial. When she balked at prostitution, he threatened to kill her and warned that her body would be found "in pieces in the trunk."

Smith, who had previously been convicted on state charges of assault and conspiracy to kidnap a child, was convicted in federal court under a statute concerning the sex trafficking of children through violence and coercion.

U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy said her office "will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those involved in abusing women of all ages -- both adults and minors -- in the sex trafficking business."

--Tony Perry in San Diego


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