Agents arrest 58 in undercover sex trafficking sting at NCAA tournament

Agents arrest 58 in undercover sex trafficking sting at NCAA tournament”

Officials have arrested 58 people as a result of an undercover sex trafficking operation during the NCAA tournament's Final Four in Minneapolis last week, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced on Wednesday.

Law enforcement also conducted similar sex trafficking stings when the Super Bowl was at U.S. Bank Stadium past year. Agents would pose as minors or sex buyers and chat with potential customers on social media platforms. Investigators arrested the suspects as they arrived at an arranged meeting place for an encounter. Another 11 were booked on probable cause of sex trafficking and promotion of prostitution, the agency said. Their cases will be submitted to the county attorneys for charging decisions. The suspects were mostly from the greater Twin Cities area.

The joint operation among 33 law enforcement agencies was timed with the arrival of tens of thousands of fans in the adjoining cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota, for the hugely popular National Collegiate Athletic Association event.

Eight of those arrested were from out-of-state and 28 victims, including one minor, were rescued from trafficking situations, according to BCA Superintendent Drew Evans.

Many Task Force affiliate agencies lent resources to this particular effort, including the Bemidji, Blaine, Brooklyn Park, Cambridge, Coon Rapids, Duluth, Howard Lake, Maplewood, Owatonna, Rochester, Thief River Falls and Upper Sioux police departments, and the Crow Wing, Kanabec and Pope County sheriff's offices.

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