Omaha Woman Sentenced for Role in Sex Trafficking of Minors
Acting United States Attorney Jan Sharp announced that Lauryn Besta, 22, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today in federal court in Omaha for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor. Chief United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. sentenced Besta to 142 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. After her release from prison, Besta will begin a five-year term of supervised release.
An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office determined that from January 2016 and continuing through January 2019, in the District of Nebraska and elsewhere, Besta (also known as “Lola”) and a co-defendant, Darien Brewer, conspired and agreed to recruit, transport, and entice four minor females, under the age of 18 years old, to engage in commercial sex. The victims were introduced into the lifestyle of prostitution through the use of drugs and alcohol provided by Besta and Brewer. Besta and Brewer often referred to the minors as “the Bunny Gang.”
Investigators determined that Besta and Brewer would instruct the minors how to advertise, solicit, and charge for commercial sex acts in the District of Nebraska and elsewhere. They obtained commercial sex customers for the minors by purchasing and posting advertisements on internet sites such as www.backpage.com. Sex customers responded to the advertisements via telephone and text message and commercial sex acts were coordinated to occur at various hotels, motels, and other locations. Besta and Brewer used vehicles and public highways to drive the minors to various hotels, motels, and other locations for commercial sex acts, including Omaha, Nebraska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Iowa; and Houston, Texas. The minors paid a portion or all of the payments received for commercial sex acts to Besta and Brewer.
On August 27, 2021, Chief Judge Rossiter sentenced Brewer to 180 months’ imprisonment and a five-year term of supervised release.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.