A Montgomery man was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Friday for forcing five individuals into prostitution, including one minor.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 36-year-old Lonnie Mitchell targeted vulnerable victims who struggled with substance abuse and encouraged them to increase their use of heroin. He then threatened to withhold heroin from the victims and send embarrassing videos and information to their loved ones if they did not comply with his demands. 

This took place over the span of several years, and the DOJ suggested that Mitchell also used violence to make sure his victims supplied him with a cut of their profits from prostitution, regulated their eating habits and confiscated their IDs and credit cards. 

He was given his sentence and ordered to pay over $950,000 in restitution by the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Alabama.

Mitchell’s sister, Nettisia, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking along with another woman, Donna Emmons. The court ordered Nettisia to pay $2,000 in restitution and sentenced her to 120 months in prison for her role in her brother’s scheme. 

Nettisia received a cut from the proceeds of one of the victims, according to the DOJ.

The court sentenced Emmons to 151 months in prison and ordered her to pay $3,500 in restitution.

“Today’s sentence reflects the defendant’s horrific treatment and abuse of his victims,” said U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart for the Middle District of Alabama. “Although their physical injuries will heal, the emotional damage caused by their suffering will last a lifetime. I am thankful for all of the agencies that worked together on this case, and for the courageous victims that testified at his trial. I hope this sentence will provide at least some consolation to the victims knowing that the defendant has been held accountable for his crimes.”

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