Sacramento, California - Donald J. Peel, 64, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced by United States District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. to 17 and a half years in prison for transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
In sentencing, Judge Burrell stated, “I cannot turn a blind eye to the nature and circumstances of the offense: they are despicable. … He is a danger to society who remains undeterred even after countless run-ins with the law.”
According to court documents and evidence presented during the jury trial, Peel took a 16-year-old girl from Las Vegas and moved her through five western states before he was arrested in Weed, California on March 19, 2014, where law enforcement found him with the minor. During the trip, Peel purchased and gave the 16-year-old illicit drugs, even administering methamphetamine to her intravenously, then had sex with the victim, sometimes multiple times a day, for all or most of the entirety of the trip. Needles used by the defendant to inject his victim with methamphetamine were found in his vehicle and introduced as evidence at trial.
Evidence at trial showed that Peel took extensive steps during the trip to isolate his victim and make her entirely dependent upon him, to conceal her age, and to conceal their identities, as he moved her through Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington in a vehicle in which her door would not open. When she was found by law enforcement, she was famished and dirty. During the trial, the Peel’s Las Vegas girlfriend testified that Peel wanted to “clean up” the victim to prostitute her. Peel’s girlfriend also testified that Peel had attempted to marry her so that she would not be able to testify against him at trial.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Highway Patrol, the Weed Police Department, Siskiyou Juvenile Probation Department, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Washington. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael M. Beckwith, Sherry D. Haus, and Matthew G. Morris prosecuted the case.