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Date: 04-27-2022

Case Style:

United States of America v. Darnell Deshawn Stennis

Case Number: 0:20-cr-00019-PJS-BRT

Judge: Patrick J. Schiltz

Court: United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (Hennepin County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Minneapolis, Minnesota criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.

Between January and March 2019, Darnell Deshawn Stennis, 30, transported one woman around the Midwest, using threats and physical violence to force the woman into performing commercial sex acts. In March of 2019, Stennis transported a second woman between Minnesota and North Dakota for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

On March 25, 2019, officers with the Bloomington Police Department were dispatched to the La Quinta Inn in Bloomington, Minnesota, following a report that a hotel guest heard yelling and what sounded like someone being thrown against a wall. Upon arrival, officers encountered Stennis and the two women, identified as Victim A and Victim B. Officers checked the hotel room and observed obvious signs of a disturbance, including a toilet seat that was broken into multiple pieces and a towel rack that was bent. Victim A reported to officers that Stennis had violently assaulted her after she told him she didn’t want to engage in commercial sex work anymore. Victim A reported that Stennis choked her, bashed her head into the towel rack, and pushed her down onto the toilet seat. Stennis, who also had outstanding warrants, was arrested and placed into custody. After his arrest, Stennis instructed Victim B to lie to the investigators and destroy evidence of the sex trafficking. He continued to force Victim A to perform commercial sex acts for several months, even while he was in custody, by threatening her with physical violence.

On October 7, 2021, Stennis was convicted by a federal jury on two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, two counts of transporting an individual to engage in prostitution, and one count of obstruction. Stennis was sentenced earlier today by U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz.

“Sex trafficking is an insidious crime that causes lasting physical and emotional trauma. Today’s sentence reflects the gravity of Mr. Stennis’s crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “I commend our law enforcement partners at Homeland Security Investigations and the Bloomington Police Department for their commitment to this case.”

“While today’s sentencing cannot undo the pain Stennis inflicted upon those who survived his abuse, it is my hope that by seeing him held accountable for his heinous crimes they will be given some form of solace knowing he is no longer in the communities in which they live,” said Jamie Holt, acting special agent in charge of HSI St. Paul. “HSI, along with our law enforcement partners, are dedicated to the eradication of sex trafficking and will continue to search out those who intend to profit off the pain and abuse of others.”

This case is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Bloomington Police Department.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph H. Thompson, Manda M. Sertich, and Evan B. Gilead.

18:1591(a), 1591(b)(1), and 1594(a) SEX TRAFFICKING BY FORCE, FRAUD AND COERCION

18:1591(a), 1591(b)(1), and 1594(a) SEX TRAFFICKING BY FORCE, FRAUD AND COERCION


Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 240 months in prison, five years of supervised release and $100 special assessment.

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