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Man being charged with trafficking women and teenagers across multiple states

By Lauren Linder

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    MONROEVILLE (KDKA) — Pennsylvania investigators charged an Ohio man with trafficking two women and a teenager after nearly five months of working a case. It involved agencies from multiple states, with a breakthrough happening at the Rodeway Inn in Monroeville.

Now, there’s a warrant out for the man’s arrest.

Off Mosside Blvd. in Monroeville sits a Rodeway Inn hotel. According to court records, that’s where investigators were watching a man from Euclid, Ohio named Donte Cole.

The 38-year-old now faces multiple charges, including eight counts of trafficking in individuals and six counts of involuntary servitude, after a lengthy investigation between the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and Homeland Security Investigations.

On May 9, detectives conducted a “knock and talk,” and met two women and a 16-year-old.

They told investigators they would send Cole “images of themselves to be posted in online advertisements” on websites investigators said, “are commonly used by traffickers and prostitutes [to promote the] offering [of] sex acts in exchange for money.”

One victim told detectives she would “[sell] herself” and that Cole “received most of her profits.” She also said the teenager “recruited [and trained] her” by telling her Cole “would protect her” and “they could go on the road together and make some money.”

When asked about abuse, another victim told investigators Cole once told her, “‘ya’ll try to leave, there will be consequences.'”

Law enforcement briefly met the teenager in Monroeville, but she didn’t want to talk with them.

Investigators spent months reviewing text messages, other cell phone records, social media, and CashApp data. This is where they said they found Cole placed advertisements in multiple cities, including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., and Chicago.

On Oct. 5, Ohio Attorney General Intelligence came across an ad for the teen from the Monroeville incident in May.

According to court records, an undercover agent contacted the teen and she “agreed… to commit a sex act.” When agents met with her, she confirmed she knew Cole.

They took her to the hospital and a caseworker eventually brought her to her dad’s home.

Cole has yet to be arrested.

KDKA reached out to local motel management but has not heard back at this time.

A spokesperson for the motel’s parent company, Choice Hotels, said “The Rodeway Inn is a franchised location and is independently owned and operated.”

They wouldn’t comment on the incident, and instead, referred KDKA to authorities for details on the investigation.

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