A New Jersey man who came to Omaha and Council Bluffs to help operate a sex trafficking venture has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Johnelle Lewis Bell ran a prostitution ring that primarily included women 19 to 23 years old, but two juveniles believed to be 16 or 17 were also involved.
Bell is 29 years old and is from Hammonton, New Jersey. There were several other partners in the operation who have yet to be identified.
At his trial, former prostitutes testified about their troubled past and how Bell lured them with promises of help, love, and long-lasting relationships.
The operation was part of a bigger venture that covered at least 13 states.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Council Bluffs Police Department, the SouthWest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, and the Omaha Police Department, and had assistance from other law enforcement in a number of states.
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