Seven people suspected of participation in a northern Minnesota human trafficking ring were charged Friday.
The suspects, who are being held in the Itasca or Pennington County jails, were arrested during a Feb. 17-19 undercover operation, according to a news release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The sting was led by the BCA in partnership with Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking (TRUST) Task Force and the Itasca County Sheriff's Office.
Suspects connected with undercover agents and investigators on "sex advertisement websites," according to the news release. They were arrested when they arrived at arranged meetings seeking commercial sex.
"This is about people making the choice to victimize innocent people, and we're not going to stand for it," BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said in the release. "The BCA and our criminal justice partners are committed to stopping those who would buy other people for sex in our communities. It is not okay."
Chad Arther Dockendorf, 45, of Grand Rapids, Minn., was charged with solicitation of a person believed to be a minor, as well as fourth-degree DWI.
Matthew Ty Hall, 32, of Mount Pleasant, Texas; Derek Wayne Jokinen, 44, of Sawyer, Minn.; Rusty James Marek, 56, of Grand Rapids, and Saihou Adrisa Sissoho, 20, of Chisholm, Minn., were each charged with solicitation of a person believe to be a minor.
Bruce Duane Jones, 54, of Goodridge, Minn., was charged with communication of sexually explicit materials to a minor. Michael Kelly West, 53, of Rolla, Mo., was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit and solicitation to engage in prostitution.
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4957