FARGO-A sex trafficking ring operating primarily out of the Twin Cities and California has a connection to North Dakota and specifically a location in Fargo, according to court documents filed in Washington County, Minn.
Twin Cities prosecutors announced Wednesday, March 29, that they had filed charges against individuals in connection with what they described as a major interstate sex trafficking ring.
As part of the operation, women were forced to make a minimum of $800 a day as prostitutes, and at least one bank account associated with the accused traffickers contained more than $850,000, court documents state.
The documents state that much of the alleged criminal activity occurred at locations in the Twin Cities and California.
Specific addresses in those areas constitute 11 of 12 "relevant places" listed in court documents as having some connection to the operation.
One "relevant" place listed in the court documents was a unit in an apartment complex at 511 40th St. S. in Fargo.
It's unclear from the court documents precisely how that location figures into the case.
When asked about any connections Fargo may have to the alleged Twin Cities prostitution ring, Fargo Deputy Police Chief Joe Anderson said Thursday, March 30, that he had no information to provide.
Court documents filed in Washington County state that one of the people suspected in the operation-Dongzhou Jiang, 28, of Blaine, Minn.-was believed to have been in charge of the Twin Cities metro locations and the "Fargo" location.
The documents state that electronic communication between Jiang and another defendant contained conversations regarding the Fargo address and the trafficking of women to a known location.
The Fargo address listed in the court documents is a large apartment complex called Park Avenue, which describes itself on its marquee as providing apartment homes.
A message left with the apartment complex seeking comment was not returned.
Individuals in the area who appeared to be residents declined to comment Thursday afternoon, March 30, after indicating they had not heard anything about the case.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said the sex trafficking operation appeared to be headquartered in California, where he said organizers posted ads for sexual services on internet sites like Backpage.com
Respondents would be given the address of the location nearest them within the ring's service area, which extended across 29 states, Orput said.
"It seems to be the Uber of sex trafficking," he said.