Home Omaha Press Releases 2011 Two Sentenced on Sex Trafficking Charges
This is archived material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website. It may contain outdated information and links may no longer function.

Two Sentenced on Sex Trafficking Charges

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 07, 2011
  • Southern District of Iowa (515) 473-9300

COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA—On February 7, 2011, Merrideth June (“Mary”) Crane-Horton, age 32, was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison, and Edwin Nathan (“Nate”) Horton, age 35, was sentenced to 175 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit or financially benefit from sex trafficking, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. The Honorable Judge James E. Gritzner also ordered Crane-Horton and Horton to serve five years of supervised release following their release from prison, and continued for later determination the restitution to be paid to the victims. Both defendants remain in the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.

Merrideth June (“Mary”) Crane-Horton and Edwin Nathan (“Nate”) Horton each entered pleas of guilty on October 21, 2010, before United States Magistrate Judge Celeste F. Bremer to count one of a superseding indictment charging conspiracy to commit or financially benefit from sex trafficking in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1594(c), 1591(a)(1) and (a)(2), and 1591(b)(2). In particular, the defendants each admitted being knowingly and intentionally involved in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in which a 15-year-old girl was enticed into the conspiracy and then coerced to perform commercial sex acts on at least two occasions, and that in the course of the conspiracy, various young adult women were enticed into the conspiracy to perform commercial sex acts, and then coerced, including by physical assaults and the threat of physical assault, to continue to perform commercial sex acts on behalf of the conspiracy.

Each defendant also admitted that all of the defendants benefitted financially from the commercial sex acts, including those sex acts performed by the 15-year-old girl, that commercial sex acts on behalf of the conspiracy were performed in both Nebraska and Iowa, and that the conspiracy employed the Internet in interstate commerce to solicit purchasers of the commercial sex acts.

“Sex trafficking is human trafficking,” said United States Attorney Klinefeldt. “It often involves, as it did in this case, physical abuse as well as mental and emotional abuse. The horrible acts in this case were committed against young women, one of whom was just 15 years old. These are important cases, and we will continue to prioritize them and prosecute the people who commit these acts to the fullest extent of the law.”

Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dun of the FBI Omaha Division, which covers Iowa and Nebraska, said, “Sex trafficking of children and minors is a growing problem throughout the country and locally. The FBI is committed to bringing to justice those who prey on our children, who are the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society. People who have information or suspicions about this crime are encouraged to call the FBI because doing so could result in the rescue of a child from life-altering abuse.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Council Bluffs Police Department, with assistance from the Omaha Police Department, and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorneys Office for the Southern District of Iowa. The case was initiated by a prostitution sting operation operated in Council Bluffs by the Council Bluffs Police Department and the FBI on January 21, 2010.

This content has been reproduced from its original source.