Itasca County, MN

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Itasca County is located in northern Minnesota, and its county seat and largest city is Grand Rapids. The county population is roughly 45,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the county. For example, in February 2019 two local men were arrested for trying to buy access to sexually abuse minors. Among the tactics used to address these problems are those targeting consumer-level demand for prostitution. For example, in February 2021, seven men were arrested during a multiagency sex trafficking operation in northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) announced that charges had been filed against seven suspects, all of whom were arrested in Itasca County in February. The suspects “chatted with undercover agents and investigators on several sex advertisement websites,” and were subsequently arrested when they showed up “at an arranged meeting place for a commercial sex crime.” The men were charged with solicitation of a person believed to be a minor, and additional charges included 4th degree DWI, communication of sexually explicit materials to a minor, and carrying a pistol without a permit. All were booked into Itasca and Pennington county jails. The press release did not specify any other details about the suspects or the sting operation itself. Working as part of the Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force, a wide variety of law enforcement agencies participated in the operation, including Homeland Security Investigations. The task force was launched in 2017 with the goal of apprehending “traffickers and those exploiting children for sex.”

Key Partners

  • Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
  • Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force
  • DHS: Homeland Security Investigations
  • Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking (TRUST) Task Force
  • Itasca County Sheriff’s Office
State Minnesota
Type County
Population 45070
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