Accused sex traffickers went from ‘motel to motel’ with 2 missing girls

Sex toys, condoms and notebooks scribbled with names, phone numbers and dollar amounts were found Monday (July 11) in a New Orleans motel room authorities say was used by two accused sex traffickers.

U.S. Marshals located two New Orleans teenage girls, both of them juveniles who had been reported as missing to New Orleans police, outside the motel room before the arrests were made, court records show.

An arrest warrant for one of two suspects states agents with a U.S. Marshals task force and Department of Homeland Security encountered the missing juveniles, ages 15 and 16, around 6:30 p.m. Monday. Authorities spoke with and detained the girls after they exited a room at the Historic Streetcar Inn, 1509 St. Charles Ave., near the intersection with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

After authorities detained the missing girls, a 36-year-old man, Pierre Smith, walked out of the motel with a 4-month-old baby, the warrant states. The 16-year-old girl told authorities she was the child’s mother and that Smith was the child’s father.

Also arrested was 38-year-old Angela Cagnolatti. Both she and Smith were arrested Monday and charged with two counts of child sex trafficking, records show. Cagnolatti was arrested after she pulled up to the scene where the two girls were detained in a white 2000 Lincoln Town Car with a Hinds County, Miss., license plate.

The warrant states the investigation revealed the two adults had been “moving from motel to motel around the city” with the girls. That story corroborated information the mother of the 15-year-old victim, who reported her daughter missing, told investigators Friday (July 8).

After Cagnolatti gave permission for investigators to search the motel room, the warrant reads, they recovered “several cellular phones,” a laptop, “numerous sex toys,” condoms, lubricant, “ledgers” and other paperwork. Included in the notebooks and paperwork were Backpage ads, names with corresponding phone numbers, times and “amount of money for those times,” the warrant reads.

Backpage is a website known to be used as a classified listing for prostitution.

A search of Smith’s vehicle turned up a red-colored dress the 15-year-old victim’s family described her as wearing in New Orleans East before the Lincoln Town Car picked her up. Also in the car was a folding massage table and two notebooks “with more names, phones numbers, time, and money amounts.”

The teenage victims and the 16-year-old victim’s baby were taken to be examined at Children’s Hospital, the warrant states.

The warrant affidavit was sworn by by Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Sgt. King Tao.

Correction: An earlier version of this story listed the incorrect age of suspect Angela Cagnolatti. She is 38, not 28.



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