Federal court sentences Omaha man to life in prison for conspiracy to sex traffic minors

Nov. 13 roundup from federal court in Omaha
Published: Nov. 12, 2022 at 2:46 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Below is a roundup of sentences handed down last week in federal court in Omaha, according to updates Monday from acting U.S. Attorney Steven Russell.

The acting U.S. Attorney’s office in Omaha reminds the public that there is no parole in the federal system.

Carney Turner, 42, and Julisha Biggs, 20, both of Omaha were sentenced Tuesday for a conspiracy to sex traffic minors. Turner was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to sex traffic minors, sex trafficking of a minor, and of enticement of a minor. Biggs was sentenced to over seven years for sex trafficking conspiracy. In an investigation with Homeland Security Investigations, Omaha police, and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, it’s reported officials started an investigation when discovering messages in September 2020 between a minor and Turner that was a part of a separate sex trafficking investigation. The release states the minor was interviewed and said she was sex trafficked by Turner for about three months and he kept money from the acts. Two more minors in October 2020 and November 2020 reported other incidents in connection with Turner. According to the release, one minor reported a sexual assault in a hotel room after Turner “brought her to the hotel and paid her to meet with the man.” Officials say another minor was in online sex ads with a number in connection with Turner and the minor was reported missing from a foster home. “Criminals, like these sentenced today, are more concerned with their own greed than the horrific circumstances they seek to expose minors to,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Kansas City Katherine Greer. “This sentencing should send a strong message that HSI and our law enforcement partners are committed to seeking, dismantling, and bringing to justice those who seek to perpetrate sex trafficking and child exploitation crimes against minors.” Further in the investigation evidence revealed that Turner, Biggs, and co-defendant Sidney Marker, lived in an apartment in Ralston, and the apartment leased by Marker was in connection to sex sales for minors from January 2020 and February 2021. It’s reported Turner recruited, advertised, and arranged commercial sex sales for minors within the same time frame and Biggs recruited the missing minor to work for Turner. Marker is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14 and Biggs will be required to register as a sex offender.

Christian Y. Peralta, 21, and Leslie Jennifer Godoy-Menjivar, 23, both of Omaha, were sentenced Tuesday by Judge John M. Gerrard to a total of over 11 years for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture. Peralta was sentenced to six years and one month for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture and Godoy-Menjivar was sentenced to five years and three months for possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture according to the release. In an investigation with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force and the Omaha Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, it’s reported Peralta sold about 10 ounces of meth to a confidential informant around October and November 2020. The DEA Task Force had a search warrant at Peralta’s parents’ house last January after agents had a tracker on the car he use during the sales with the informant the release states. It’s reported Peralta and his girlfriend at the time Godoy-Menjivar were staying at his parents’ house. Officials found meth in their bedroom and a notebook with records of drug sales, a receipt for a storage unit, a digital scale, and packing materials. They also found a receipt for a storage unit in the car Peralta used and had search warrants on both units. A total of about 19 pounds of meth was found in both storage units.

Ismael R. Cuevas, 32, of Lincoln was sentenced Thursday by Judge John M. Gerrard to over seven years for receipt of child pornography. In an investigation with the Nebraska State Patrol, there was a federal search warrant at Cuevas’ home and sized his cellphone. The warrant was after an NSP investigator used software to connect to an IP address and downloaded files that had child porn in October 2020 according to the release. It’s reported the IP address was later identified to be Cuevas’ home. When looking at the cellphone, officials say they witnesses an application that was in the middle of downloading many files of child porn. During the search, they sized many electronic devices such as a laptop and a USB drive. Files were downloaded and they discovered over 100 videos and over 17,000 pictures on his cellphone, over 20 photos on the laptop, and over 50 files on the USB drive. The release states Cuevas is ordered to pay $3,000 that will go to funds for victims.

Jose Bahena-Sanchez, 63, formerly of Grand Island was sentenced Thursday by Judge John M. Gerrard to 10 months for misuse of a social security number. In an investigation with Homeland Security Investigations, it’s reported Bahena-Sanchez used the identity and social security number of his deceased brother to sign a Form I-9 to start a job in April 2019. The release states his deceased brother hasn’t been in the U.S. since 1999. Officials say he made a false representation to meet Section 274A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. “He provided that SSN with the intention to deceive Tri-Cities Group, Inc. into believing that number was assigned to him,” according to the release. It’s reported he used the same SSN to apply for social security benefits in December 2016 and received benefits from 2017 until early 2022. The release further states he has to pay $48,074.90 in restitution.