Announced today by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Montana, a Virginia man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by 5 years supervised release, for the crime of attempting to traffick a minor, while in Billings.

Mark Samuel Baker, 57, of Gore, Virginia was convicted of attempted sex trafficking of a minor, as charged in an indictment from September 19th, 2023.

The Breakdown

According to the court documents, the government alleged that from July 11, 2022, through July 13th, 2022, Baker knowingly attempted to recruit and solicit a minor to engage in commercial sex.

During the investigation, an undercover officer used the internet to post an advertisement purporting to be a female escort who was the minimum allowed posting age of 18. Around 6 hours later, the agent received a message in response to the posting, from a number later matched to Baker.

Law enforcement responded on July 12th, 2022, asking if Baker wanted "a date." Law enforcement and Baker continued communicating over the following two days, with one exchange including:

"Law enforcement asked: "Are u ok if I'm not 18." Baker responded: "Yes as long as you are ok I'm 49." Law enforcement responded: "I'm almost 16 if ur cool w that."

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Baker and the agent discussed how much time $80 would buy, and Baker said he wanted sex with the undercover officer. Baker also sent photos of the cash he would use, and of himself. They then made plans to meet in Billings and go to Baker's hotel.

Law enforcement arrested Baker on July 13th, 2022, when he showed up at the designated time. A call was then placed to the phone number law enforcement had been texting, and a smartphone in Baker's vehicle lit up with the undercover's number. Law enforcement found $375, a hotel key, and four condoms on Baker's person.

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Gallery Credit: Derek Wolf