The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced that a recent undercover operation in Minnesota has led to 11 arrests and the recovery of 4 trafficking victims. Those arrested are facing felony charges for attempting to solicit minors for sex or for promoting prostitution.

The news release states that investigators with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)-led Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force and the St. Paul Police Department conducted the operation July 27-28 in St. Paul. During the operation, suspects chatted online with undercover agents and investigators who posed as minors or as sex buyers. Investigators then arrested the suspects as they arrived at an arranged meeting place for an encounter.

The suspects were booked into the Ramsey County Jail, with the following charges:

  • Ten people were booked on probable cause felony solicitation of a minor under 18 years of age for prostitution.
  • One person was booked on probable cause felony promotion of prostitution.
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The names of those arrested include Leonard David Caston, Jr., Malvin Chirongoma, Yonis Abdiweli Hashi, Rodrigue Lauture, Geber Danian Lopez Mejia, Jose Jacinto Guaman Quizhpi, Brandon Emmanuel Rivera Ruiz, Abdul Jameer Shaik, Thomas Charles Stephenson, Robert Jeremy Yang, and Toula-Joe Yang.

The operation was also successful as four female victims were able to be recovered from trafficking situations.

“We are committed to helping Minnesota’s trafficking victims escape the reprehensible actions of those who would buy or sell them for sex,” BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. “Our predatory crimes agents will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and advocates to end this terrible crime in Minnesota.”

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety notes that many additional agencies lent resources to this enforcement effort including the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force (EMSTTF), Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking (TRUST), and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office. Victim advocate organization Breaking Free also provided services during victim recoveries.

Authorities stress that if you or someone you know is in immediate danger of being trafficked, call 911. To report a suspected trafficking situation, call the BCA at 877-996-6222 or email bca.tips@state.mn.us.

The Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force (MNHTITF) provides statewide law enforcement response for the Human Trafficking National Hotline. Victims can get help by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or sending the text HELP to 233733.

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