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Lincoln man gets 47 years in federal prison for sex trafficking 2 teens
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Lincoln man gets 47 years in federal prison for sex trafficking 2 teens

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A 33-year-old Lincoln man has been sentenced to 47 years in federal prison for sex trafficking two teenage girls, taking them to Colorado and Iowa to have sex for money.

At a trial in August, a jury found Devin L. Ashford guilty of sex trafficking of a minor; production of child pornography; sex trafficking by means of force, threat, fraud or coercion; and interstate travel for prostitution.

“For those thinking that pimping is a lifestyle, there will be a cost for doing business.” Chief U.S. District Judge John Gerrard told Ashford at his sentencing Tuesday.

In addition to the prison time, he received 10 years of supervised release. 

Devin Ashford

Devin L. Ashford

There is no parole in federal prison. 

At trial, federal prosecutors laid out an investigation by Lincoln police, and later the FBI, which started April 9, 2018, after a New York woman reported that her adult daughter had called her to say she was being trafficked out of a home near 11th and A streets.

According to a police report, officers knocked on the door and spoke to Ashford and the woman's daughter, who denied anyone was being trafficked.

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But, just more than a month later, police arrested a woman in a prostitution sting, got search warrants for the cellphones she had and found a photo of a 17-year-old girl that had been sent to several men with text messages advertising her, the report said.

Investigators later found the girl, who had been reported missing, and interviewed her.

Police said Ashford used social media to recruit young women to engage in prostitution and work for him.

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One of the women told police she went on dates and performed sex acts for money that went to Ashford. Police say messages between the two on Snapchat showed them discussing money and dates, and Ashford acknowledging that she was 17.

Police said they also found sexually explicit images of another 17-year-old girl on Ashford's Facebook account.

At trial, victims testified that Ashford beat, starved and pushed cocaine on them to get them to provide sexual services.

Prosecutors said at least three of the minors had either run away from home or were in the foster care system when Ashford targeted them.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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