Texas man sentenced for sex trafficking minor he kept tethered to hotel room by phone tracker

A Dallas man has been sentenced for sex trafficking a minor after an investigation by the Homeland Security Investigation Dallas led North Texas Trafficking Task Force. 

Laderrick Smith, 23, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan on May 26 after pleading guilty in August 2021. 

RELATED: 70 missing children, including sex trafficking victims, found in Texas operation

According to information presented in court, in April 2020, HSI Dallas and the Arlington Police Department, along with the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, rescued the minor victim trafficked by Smith. 

During the investigation, special agents discovered that Smith trafficked the minor victim, and others, out of a hotel room in Plano, Texas. 

RELATED: Houston filmmakers debut powerful short film focused on sex trafficking

Officials said Smith would place ads in commercial sex sites with photographs of the minor victims and offered them for sex. He communicated with prospective buyers, set rates, and arranged for the commercial sex acts. 

Smith, officials said, also installed a tracking device on the victim's cell phone so that the minor couldn't leave the hotel, obtain food, or seek medical treatment without his permission. 

During Smith's sentencing, the district court found he kept the minor victim under his supervisory control, and he unduly influenced the minor victim to engage in commercial sex through fear of bodily injury. 

RELATED: Missing North Texas teen was a sex trafficking victim in Oklahoma, police say

On top of his 20-year prison sentence, he will also serve a term of supervised release of 15 years, during which time Smith will be required to register as a sex offender. 

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423, or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial (802) 872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY (802) 872-6196.