Submitted March 12, 2015.
Appeal from United States District Court for the District of South Dakota - Rapid City.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Sarah Boensch Collins, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eric D. Kelderman, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Rapid City, SD; Kevin Koliner, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Sioux Falls, SD.
For James Eugene Larive, Jr., Defendant - Appellant: Ellery Grey, Grey Law Office, Rapid City, SD.
James Eugene Larive Jr., Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Oklahoma City, OK.
Before WOLLMAN and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges, and WHITE, District Judge.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
James Eugene Larive, Jr., was convicted of attempted commercial sex trafficking after he responded to an advertisement, negotiated to trade a cellular phone for an hour of sex with a minor, and traveled to a designated meeting point. Larive argues that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction, because he abandoned the attempt before taking a substantial step toward completion of the offense. We conclude that the evidence adequately supports the jury's finding of an attempt, and we therefore affirm.
Beginning in August 2013, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation set up a sting operation targeting sex trafficking during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in western South Dakota. As part of the operation, agents posted advertisements on websites offering young girls for prostitution.
On August 9, DCI Special Agent Brian Schnabel posted an advertisement on the Rapid City Craigslist website titled " End of Rally -w4m -18 (Sturgis area)." The content of the advertisement read " Travelin through for the area and lookin. Fresh young thing. very discrete and serious response only." Schnabel testified that the
" fresh young thing" language in the advertisement would indicate to someone familiar with the terminology that the poster was ...