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A year old Sparta man who forced three women into prostitution to fund their heroin addictions will spend the 25 years in federal prison. Monta Groce, who was found guilty of running a drug house and sex trafficking, also will serve 20 years on supervised release. Groce was convicted on eight counts, including three counts of sex trafficking by force, threats of force or coercion; one count of conspiracy to engage in interstate transportation for prostitution; one count of interstate transportation for prostitution; one count of maintaining a property for drug trafficking; one count of using a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and one count of witness retaliation.
During that time, he enticed the victims to begin prostituting for his profit by providing them with heroin and pretending to be in love with them, according to court records. As their dependency on him increased, he turned to violence and threatened to cut off their heroin supply if they disobeyed him, withheld money earned from prostitution or otherwise refused to prostitute.
Groce kept some of the victims in perpetual debt by fronting them heroin and charging fines as punishment. He advertised the victims on Backpage. One victim began using heroin when she was 15 and met the defendant when she was 19, around January She said Groce was initially kind to her, called her beautiful and offered her a place to stay when she had nowhere else to go. He started selling her heroin, and shortly after, he manipulated her emotions to convince her to start prostituting for him.
She said Groce required her to prostitute before giving her heroin, and if she disobeyed him, he punished her by cutting her off, which caused her to suffer intense and painful withdrawal symptoms. On one occasion, Groce burned her face with a cigarette because she withheld money from him. She escaped with the help of one of the other victims who also provided testimony at the trial. She recounted how in April , Groce beat, punched and kicked her while calling her a snake and a snitch because she had previously cooperated with law enforcement.
After the beating, she was covered in blood and bruises. Another victim met the defendant when she was 21, around December , after her mother died from a drug overdose.