BILLINGS, Mont. — A Nevada woman today admitted allegations that she brought a minor girl to Billings for commercial sex activity, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Ashley Michael Stella, 28, of Reno, Nevada, pleaded guilty to a second superseding indictment charging her with transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution. Stella faces a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years to life of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for April 14, 2022. Stella was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that on April 21, 2021, law enforcement officers responded to a call of possible commercial sex activity at a Billings motel and knocked on the door of the suspect room. Stella, another individual and a 16-year-old girl, identified as Jane Doe 1, emerged. Jane Doe 1, from Nevada, indicated in interviews that she had met Stella in December 2020. Stella informed Jane Doe 1 and that she worked in commercial sex. Jane Doe 1 told law enforcement that she and Stella traveled to Montana in April from Nevada and that both had engaged in commercial sex. Stella told law enforcement she had met Jane Doe 1 in the fall of 2020 and learned her true age later that year. Stella also told investigators that the two had traveled from Nevada to Montana for the purpose of commercial sex and that she had asked Jane Doe 1 if she wanted to go on the trip.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus and Bryan T. Dake are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Montana Department of Justice’s Criminal Investigation Division, FBI and Billings Police Department.