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Breezy Point is a city of less than 3,000 residents, located in central Minnesota’s Crow Wing County, north of Brainerd and Baxter. Although reports of prostitution in the city remain limited, law enforcement officials have taken a proactive approach to reducing demand for prostitution and have conducted at least one reverse sting in the community.
In October 2015, the Breezy Point Police Department, in coordination with the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office and Baxter, Brainerd, and Pequot Lakes Police Departments, reported the arrests of two men following an anti-prostitution operation at a Breezy Point hotel. Although the logistics of the sting were not initially publicized, the Echo Journal indicated that the police detail had “involved a fictional advertisement for escort services on an online classified advertising website.” In a press release about the investigation, the BPPD commented:
“The (Breezy Point Police) Department recognizes that all of Minnesota is plagued by the exploitation of people and small towns are susceptible to this as well as large cities… This activity leads to additional crimes and victims who are scarred for life.”
In late November 2015, media outlets publicized the identities of the two men arrested during the October 2015 operation after each was formally charged with a “gross misdemeanor charge of soliciting prostitution in a public place” by the Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office. Additional details of the operation were also released. Both men were arrested by after showing up for arranged meetings with a fictional escort in a Breezy Point hotel room through a classified advertising website. Officers searched both men and located cash equivalent to an arranged price and cell phones with phone numbers matching those corresponding with the numbers placed in the ad by an undercover officer. One admitted to police he used the online classified advertising website with intent of communicating with someone to pay for sex. A year later, one of the men pleaded guilty and was sentenced to unsupervised probation for two years, required to attend a “john school” class by Breaking Free, and fined $2,085. The other defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, ordered to attend the john school, and fined $1,085.
This operation was part of a regional effort to step up enforcement in sex trafficking, part of a statewide and nationwide trend. The operations were conducted by a coalition of law enforcement agencies, including the Brainerd and Baxter police departments and the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office. The Baxter Police Department has led three of five stings, and said the goals of law enforcement were to reduce demand and educate buyers about the impact their solicitation has on perpetuating sex trafficking in the lakes area and throughout the state.
- Breezy Point Police Department
- Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office
- Brainerd Police Department
- Baxter Police Department
- Pequot Lakes Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Sting Nets 2 Prostitution Arrests in Breezy Point,” Pineandlakes Echo Journal, October 19 2015.
- “Sting Nets 2 Prostitution Arrests in Breezy Point,” Brainerd Daily Dispatch, October 19 2015.
- “Charges Filed in Breezy Prostitution Sting,” Pineandlakes Echo Journal, November 24 2015.
- https://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/sting-nets-2-prostitution-arrests-breezy-point (2015)
- https://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/charges-filed-breezy-prostitution-sting (2015)
- http://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/crime-and-courts/law-enforcement-sting-solicitation-cases-now-complete (2017)