MINNEAPOLIS – Late last week in federal court, a jury found a 33-year-old Duluth man guilty of the sex trafficking a child for approximately seven months last year. Following a four-day trial, the jury convicted Markeace Arque Canty on one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child and one count of sex trafficking of a child. The jury acquitted Canty of one count of receipt of child pornography. Canty, also known as Quake, was indicted on May 7, 2013.
According to the indictment and the evidence presented at trial, from at least July 2012 through January 2013, Canty recruited and transported the female victim, who was under the age of 18 at the time, to engage in commercial sex acts, from which Canty benefitted financially. Canty purchased “escort” advertisements on the website backpage.com and transported the female victim to locations in Duluth, Minneapolis, Chicago, and elsewhere to meet advertisement responders at motels, where the victim engaged in sexual acts in exchange for money.
The jury heard evdience that on September 12, 2012, law enforcement in Indiana responded to an advertisement listing a phone number registered to Canty and arrested the female victim after she agreed to perform sex acts in exchange for money. The advertisement in that instance included a phone number registered to Canty.
Evidence was also presented about results of a search of Canty’s iPhone, which included texts that the prosecution argued coordinated times and amounts with respondents to the advertisements, as well as texts that the prosecution argued were between Canty and the victim in which she updated him on her illicit activities.
For his crimes, Canty faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on each of the sex trafficking counts, with a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years on the sex trafficking of a child count. United States District Judge Joan N. Ericksen will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Duluth Police Department, with cooperation from the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office; the Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota Police Departments; the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota, the Eau Claire, Wisconsin Police Department, and the Porter County Sheriff’s Office in Indiana. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Calhoun-Lopez and LeeAnn K. Bell.
Anyone who may have information about any human trafficking matter is encouraged to report that information to the FBI at 763-569-8000. For information about human trafficking, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s toll-free hotline (1-888-373-7888) is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked within the U.S. alone each year.