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Gang member to be sentenced for human trafficking

A Walton County man will face sentencing May 23 in Washington County after pleading guilty to human trafficking charges that include the prostitution of a minor.

According to court records, the crimes first came to the attention of law enforcement in April 2020 when Florida Highway Patrol attempted a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Holmes County on 32-year-old Michael Antoine Hill of Defuniak Springs. Hill refused to stop, continuing into Washington County, where he crashed and fled into the woods, discarding handgun magazines as FHP pursued him on foot. Additional officers arrived on scene and discovered a minor female passenger, identified as a minor listed as a runaway from Department of Children and Families custody.

FHP states Hill was a convicted felon at the time of the incident, having been identified as a “violent offender of special concern” and a member of the Brims, a subset of the Bloods criminal street gang. Hill was located three days later by FHP and Florida Department of Law Enforcement and arrested on existing warrants for violation of probation for aggravated assault and aggravated battery, as well as new charges of narcotics trafficking and possession of a weapon by a conviction felon.

FHP found video and text messaging evidence to show in addition to heavy illegal drug activity, Hill repeatedly procured illicit images and videos of the minor and arranged meetings for the girl with clients for the purpose of prostitution in locations from Miami to the Florida Panhandle, including Crestview and Ft. Walton.

The investigation also found Hill encouraged the minor to lie to law enforcement via jail phone conversations.

Investigators stated in complaint that Hill was engaged in “a repeated pattern of manipulative and controlling behavior” targeted at the minor to prevent her from disclosing her knowledge of his criminal activities.

Ultimately, Hill pled guilty in January 2022.

The May 23 sentencing will be for the following charges: Human trafficking; Deriving support from prostitution, Interference with custody, Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Possession of child pornography, Production of child pornography, Forcing or compelling another to become a prostitute, Online solicitation of minor for sex acts, Transmission of material harmful to minors, Child abuse, Traveling to meet a minor for sex, Unlawful sexual activity with certain specified minors, and Unlawful use of two-way communication device.

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