Two men sentenced in sex trafficking case


Fonati Diggs

Timothy Cross

Two men were sentenced to more than 21 years in prison for prostituting a 17-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman in multiple locations in St. Paul.

The sentences may be the longest in Minnesota history, according to the Ramsey County attorney’s office.

Fonati McArthur Diggs, 24, of Northfield and Timothy Denzel Cross, 20, of St. Paul were found guilty of engaging in both first- and second-degree sex trafficking.

Cross was also found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm and second-degree assault. The two were charged in April for the crimes which date back to June 2012. A jury found them guilty in July.

“We believe these are the longest sentences for sex trafficking in Minnesota to-date. In Ramsey County, three defendants have now been sentenced to more than 20 years for this crime in the last two years,” said Ramsey County attorney John Choi in a statement. “With these sentences, the justice system in Ramsey County has sent a strong message to those who sell and buy teen girls for sex — we will not tolerate this crime in our community.”

St. Paul police responded to a call on June 16, 2012, that a 16-year-old was being prostituted by the men, according to a criminal complaint.

The 17-year-old told police she’d traveled from Duluth to St. Paul and was driven to the Super 8 Motel on Old Hudson Road near White Bear Avenue, the complaint states.

There, the girl was told she was to work as a prostitute. When she refused, Cross held a knife to her throat and threatened to harm her and her family, the complaint states. Both the 17-year-old and the 18-year old were forced to have sex with men for money at the hotel, as well as the following day at an apartment, it states.

On June 25, 2012, St. Paul Police responded to a call on the 600 block of East Lawson Avenue and spoke with the 18-year-old, who told them she’d been forced into prostitution. The woman provided matching information to what the 17-year-old victim had told them.

The 18-year-old told police that when she didn’t make enough money one day, Cross beat and strangled her, causing abrasions and a black eye, the complaint states.

Diggs will face 274 months in prison, while Cross will serve 254 months.

Cross was previously convicted of fleeing police in a car in Ramsey County in 2011, according to the criminal complaint. He was found guilty of robbery in Ramsey County in 2009, when he was a juvenile.

Diggs was convicted of simple robbery in Dakota County in 2011. As a juvenile, he was found guilty of crimes for the benefit of a gang in Ramsey County in 2004.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com.

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