A St. Louis man who trafficked women across multiple states for prostitution and arrested in Independence was sentenced Monday to 17 years and six months in federal prison.

Calvin Miller, also known as “Cerius Blacc,” was sentenced in federal court in Kansas City after pleading guilty in March to charges of sex trafficking and transporting two women across state lines for prostitution. The 35-year-old Miller admitted to a sex-trafficking conspiracy that lasted from approximately March 1, 2016 to Oct. 15, 2016, ending when he and cousin and co-defendant Henry Dailey were arrested in an Independence motel. Under federal statutes, Miller faced up to life in prison without parole.

The charges came from a November 2016 federal indictment stemming from Operation Cross Country X, an international FBI investigation of sex trafficking in partnership with local law enforcement. According to court documents, a federal undercover agent assisted Independence Police, posing as a customer trying to hire a prostitute. On Oct. 14, 2016, the agent located an online listing and contacted a woman to arrange a meeting at a hotel.

That woman became a witness and provided officers with information about Dailey and about Miller, whom she said was a violent pimp. The witness led officers to the Independence motel, where they found two victims.

One victome told officers Miller was violent and abusive, breaking her hip at one point, and that she had met him in March 2016 and never been allowed to go back home. She told officers, “If I tell you anything he will kill me,” and started crying, saying she didn't believe police could provide enough security to protect her from “these guys.”

The other woman told the detective she wanted to get away from the group and just wanted to go home. Each victim said Miller required them to work for a prostitution ring based in St. Louis – threatening them with violence and death if they tried to leave – and took all of their money. They also said he forced them to use drugs to keep them addicted and dependent on them.

While at the hotel, officers determined Miller had rented two rooms on the third floor and a room on the first floor, and they found him on the third floor and arrested him.

Dailey, 37, was previously sentenced to seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty in connection with the case.