Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Montavious Cortez Warner pled guilty to Human Trafficking and was sentenced to 25 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The last twelve years of his sentence was suspended and he will be placed on five years of supervised probation following his release from custody.
In the early morning hours of April 12, 2014, the Ridgeland Police Department responded to a disturbance at the Red Roof Inn. When officers arrived they observed a black Mazda 626 in the hotel parking lot and they smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle. Officers made contact with the driver of the vehicle, Warner, and the minor, sixteen year old, female passenger. Officers observed a handgun in Warner’s possession and they secured the weapon for safety purposes. Police then inquired as to why Warner and the minor were at the hotel. Warner told the officers that they were at the hotel to purchase a gun and admitted that he had just smoked marijuana.
The officers believed that Warner was not telling the truth about why he was at the hotel and asked if they could look at his telephone. Upon inspection of his phone, officers immediately observed an internet advertisement on www.jacksonbackpage.com, for what appeared to be prostitution.
After discovering the information on Warner’s phone police questioned the minor female passenger. The minor at first denied being involved in any illegal activity, but later admitted that Warner was her pimp and that he had brought her to Ridgeland to have sex with someone at the hotel. She stated that she was going to be paid $150.00. The victim also informed police that she had been involved in prostitution from about a month, and that Warner was responsible for placing the advertisement on the internet.
Warner was arrested and placed in the Madison County Detention Center. While in jail, Warner admitted to a fellow inmate that he was a pimp and that he had taken the victim to the Red Roof Inn to meet a customer for sex. Warner stated that he would harm or kill the victim if she cooperated with law enforcement.
Guest stated, “Unfortunately, human trafficking is a growing problem and we are not immune to its effects. We must have a zero tolerance for human trafficking and do everything that we can to combat this ever growing threat. I applaud Governor Phil Bryant for creating the Mississippi Task Force on Human Trafficking to reduce human trafficking in our state.”
Guest added, “Those that engage in human trafficking prey upon our children and we must continue our efforts to minimize the number of victims who fall prey to criminals like Warner. We can decrease the number of cases by prosecuting the offenders and handing down strong sentences to those who would harm our children.”
Guest concluded, “The Ridgeland Police Department should be applauded for the outstanding job that they did in bringing a predator to justice. The citizens of Madison County can be proud of the way they work to serve and to protect us each and every day.”
Name: Montavious Cortez Warner
Date of Birth: 7/23/84
Address: 1147 Wilshire Drive, Jackson