Wisconsin man faces federal charges in N.D. human trafficking case
By Amy Dalrymple and Katherine Lymn
Forum News Service
BISMARCK – A Wisconsin man faces federal charges for allegedly drugging women and bringing them to work as prostitutes in North Dakota, where he’s accused of holding them against their will.
Levell Lee Durr, 31, who had a Minot apartment, is charged in U.S. District Court in North Dakota with coercion and enticement, resulting from a multistate human trafficking investigation.
A 23-year-old woman interviewed by authorities told investigators Durr held three girls against their will in Minot and made them have sex with men for money, according to a criminal complaint signed by FBI Special Agent Bruce Bennett.
The females were required to use heroin every morning, which Bennett wrote is a known method for maintaining control and compliance in sex trafficking cases.
The woman reported that she was sexually assaulted by Durr, the complaint said. She said another girl was confined in a dog kennel for several days for breaking Durr’s rules. The woman interviewed by authorities also said Durr would hit, slap or grab the women by the throat for not complying with his rules, the complaint said.
The woman told investigators she and another girl could make $15,000 in a week working as prostitutes in North Dakota, and Durr would only allow them to keep enough money to get something from a vending machine, the complaint said.
Bismarck police arrested Durr on Friday afternoon, and he is being held in the Burleigh County jail. A warrant had been issued for Durr’s arrest, and Bismarck police officers saw his car in the parking lot of a hotel and arrested him without incident, Bismarck police Sgt. Mark Buschena said.
U.S. Attorney for North Dakota Tim Purdon said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.
The complaint filed in federal court makes references to three potential victims: the 23-year-old interviewed by authorities, a 32-year-old and a girl believed to be 15.
FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said he could not comment on the number of victims or their ages. He said the FBI is providing assistance to victims.
“We’re making certain that they receive the services that are appropriate and just making certain that they aren’t forgotten in this process,” Loven said.
The court complaint says:
The investigation began in April, when the Sheboygan (Wis.) Police Department contacted the FBI in North Dakota to report that Durr, known to police there as an active pimp, had been making trips to North Dakota with girls to “service” the “fracking areas.”
On June 6, the FBI in Minot received information from the FBI in Chicago about a victim of human trafficking. The FBI recovered the victim, the 23-year-old woman, in Minot on June 9, and she provided information about Durr, also known as “Pete” or “Sonny Stacks.”
The woman said Durr drugged her and took her to North Dakota on two separate occasions, once from Wisconsin and the second time from Chicago. She had been able to leave Minot once with the help of family friends and enter a rehabilitation center in Chicago, but she was eventually taken back to North Dakota by Durr, she told investigators.
She said she recalled smoking what she thought was marijuana and waking up later in a car, realizing that she had been “out of it” for several days and was in North Dakota. Durr took her identification, her iPad and her money, the woman told the FBI.
The woman told investigators Durr was controlling two other females, one adult and one 15-year-old.
Investigators also interviewed Anquentin Holliman, whom they encountered near Durr’s Minot apartment, according to the court complaint.
Holliman told investigators he has known Durr since grade school and saw Durr in Milwaukee about six months earlier. Holliman said Durr told him he was pimping girls in Minot and making good money.
Holliman told investigators Durr bought him a train ticket to Minot and he agreed to participate and assist Durr. Holliman said he had not received any money at the time of the interview with law enforcement, but he had been promised $400.
Court records say Holliman initially was not cooperative with law enforcement. He is charged in Ward County District Court with providing false information to an officer, a Class A misdemeanor.
Authorities also had contact with Durr at a Fargo hotel and during a traffic stop in Jamestown last week before he was arrested in Bismarck.
Durr will appear in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing.
His public defender, Heather McCord Mitchell, did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
Durr’s criminal history in Wisconsin includes convictions for possessing and manufacturing or delivering cocaine.