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Six men arrested, plead guilty to solicitation charges in undercover sex trafficking operation done this week

July 14, 2018

GERING — Six men were arrested Thursday on solicitation charges as the result of an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted this week.

Julian Lerma, 30; Malcom Banks, 28; Jason A. Brown, 44; William McMillen, 62, Samuel Broderick, 39, and Ferdi Kunbouw, 38, were charged with solicitation of prostitution, according to Scotts Bluff County Court records.

According to arrest affidavits, officers with various area law enforcement agencies working with the Panhandle Region Team of the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force, including the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, conducted an undercover operation targeting sex trafficking and solicitation of prostitution on July 12. Investigators posted advertisements online for women in the area for Oregon Trail Days.

— William McMillen, of Scottsbluff, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation, a Class I misdemeanor, during Friday’s proceedings. He was sentenced to two days in jail and fined $1,050.

According to an arrest affidavit, McMillen replied to the Craigslist ad, sending multiple emails, sending photos of himself and for the investigator, who he believed to be a man, to provide to him. The man agreed to provide a “donation” to the man and provided information about his age. McMillen messaged the investigator, advising he was at the hotel arranged to meet and asking for a hotel number. The man followed direction, going to the hotel room, knocking twice and walking into the room when the door was answered. He undressed when he went into the room and was then arrested.

— Samuel Broderick, of Chadron, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation, a Class I misdemeanor, and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, an infraction, during Friday’s proceedings. Broderick was sentenced to two days jail and fined $1,300.

According to an arrest affidavit, Broderick had posted his own ad, “Bored in Sco Blo,” said he was in town for work and sought “any ladies bored?” An attorney general’s investigator responded to the ad and Broderick allegedly replied, seeking specific sexual acts and agreeing to payment, and offering to bring beer. He also requested a nude picture.

Broderick was arrested when he showed up at a hotel that had been arranged as a meeting place and knocked on the hotel room. Officers searching Broderick located marijuana, condoms, lubricant, Michelob and the $300 he had agreed to pay.

— Malcom Banks, of Camp Girardeau, Michigan, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation, a Class I misdemeanor. He was sentenced to two days in jail and fined $1,050.

Banks had replied to an advertisement posted as part of the investigation, according to court records. He asked questions, seeking photos and ages of two girls mentioned in the arrest affidavit and replied that he wanted “all of it” when asked about specific services that could be provided. Banks agreed to walk from his own hotel to another hotel being used in the operation. He was also asked to send a picture of himself and to provide cash before he would be escorted in an elevator. Banks was arrested as he entered a hotel room being used for the operation.

— Ferdi Kunbouw, no address listed in court documents, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation, a Class I misdemeanor, during Friday’s proceedings. He was sentenced to two days in jail and fined $1,049.

According to court documents, Kunbouw responded to a post on a website posted by an investigator, requested a picture of the female investigator’s chin with her thumb on it. During the conversation, Kunbouw asked for a specific sex act and agreed to payment.

The man, who said he had just gotten off work, told the investigator he was leaving home after freshening up and asked for a room number of a hotel. The man arrived after hotel hours and had to be let in by hotel staff and he was arrested after he knocked on the door and acknowledged he was there seeking a sex act.

— Jason Brown, of Gering, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation, a Class I misdemeanor, during Friday’s proceedings. He was sentenced to two days in jail and fined $1,050.

According to an arrest affidavit, investigators had been working a Sidney operation on June 26 when several men messaged and expressed interest in meeting women in the Scottsbluff area. Brown contacted an undercover investigator on June 25, expressing interest in meeting a woman, the affidavit states.

The conversation continued on July 6, in which Brown allegedly had sexually based conversations involving condoms, rates and other information. The conversation continued almost daily through July 12. On July 12, Brown texted the investigator, saying he was in the area, but was broke. He agreed to a “trade” where he would bring a speaker in exchange for certain sex acts. The man arrived at a local hotel on Thursday night, carrying a speaker, and was arrested.

— Julian Lerma, of Gering, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation, a Class I misdemeanor, during Friday’s proceedings. He was sentenced to two days in jail and fined $1,050.

According to an arrest affidavit, investigators had been working a Sidney operation on June 26 when several men messaged and expressed interest in meeting women in the Scottsbluff area. Lerma had been among the men contacting an undercover investigator during the sting, sending an email advising of a fantasy to “hook up with a girl who is a (expletive) supermodel). Conversations with the man included rates. Lerma was unable to travel to Sidney, but made contact again on July 12 and advised that he would met the undercover investigator while on a lunch break.

Lerma arrived to the hotel on Thursday night and went to a room identified in a text message. He was arrested as he arrived at the room.

The undercover investigation is the third investigation conducted by the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force Panhandle Region team. In June, a Mitchell man was arrested as part of a sting in Sidney and four men were arrested in December 2017 during the team’s first investigation.

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