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Two sentenced on charges in trafficking sting

BISMARCK — Two men were sentenced in plea deals Thursday on federal charges that arose out of the Operation Vigilant Guardian sex trafficking sting.

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Vigilant Guardian netted 14 arrests in November — 11 in Dickinson and three in Williston — after undercover agents posed online as pimps selling underage girls for sex. The men caught responded to the ads, which were on Backpage and Craigslist, and showed up to meet the fictional girls at hotels.

Lawrence Hundley, 50, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison on a felony coercion and enticement charge by Judge Daniel Hovland. He responded to an ad for commercial sex and showed up at a Dickinson hotel where he was directed to meet the girl and was arrested there.

Another man convicted of the same charge, Justin Hess, got a much shorter sentence because of his compliance with officers and because he immediately took responsibility for his actions, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme.

Hovland followed Delorme’s recommended 20-month sentence.

Both men will be on supervised release for five years after leaving prison, and have restrictions on their computer use and contact with minors. Both must also register as sex offenders.