Dontavious Mingel Blake, and his former girlfriend, Tara Jo Moore of Palm Beach, have each been sentenced to lengthy prison times for their involvement in a child sex-trafficking ring, though neither received the maximum life-in-prison sentences, according to a news release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern District of Florida.
Blake, 33, was sentenced to 324 months in federal prison, while Moore, 27, was sentenced to 180 months.
A tip via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children led the FBI to look into the couple in 2012, and an investigation revealed that the two advertised prostitution services on the ad service backpage.com. The ads had clients call a number to set up dates with underaged and adult prostitutes at local motels throughout Palm Beach County.
One of the johns was apparently a man nicknamed "Pedophile Frank," who purchased the services of a 15-year-old girl whom he drugged and videotaped performing sex acts.
Frank, whose real name is Frank Joseph Smith, is serving 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to producing child porn videos in 2012.
According to court documents, the 15-year-old girl engaged in prostitution for Blake and Moore from August to December 2011, servicing ten to 15 clients during that time. A second victim, age 16, was also revealed to be part of the couple's prostitution ring between July and October of the same year.
Blake would post the girls' photos on backpage.com with his own telephone number. Clients would speak directly with Moore to set up "dates" after negotiating prices and services. Once the parties agreed on a price and time, Blake would drive the young girls to a specified motel. The girls would then pay Blake a portion of what they earned as well as a portion of the motel room price. Authorities say Moore helped Blake in his business, though her lawyer said Blake allegedly abused her physically and coerced her into assisting him, according to a report by the Sun Sentinel.
Following their arrests, Blake and Moore were charged with sex-trafficking of two girls who were under 18; two counts of sex-trafficking by force, threats fraud or coercion of two young women; and two related conspiracy counts.
The DOJ says the case was brought as part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. The United States Attorneys’ Offices, the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and Project Safe Childhood marshals were all part of the investigation.