Maple Grove, MN

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Maple Grove is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota. It is within the broader Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, and with a population of about 70,000, it ranks as Minnesota’s eighth largest city. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking. For example, in June 2017, a Maple Grove restaurant owner was arrested and charged with assisting in a sex trafficking operation police found to stretch across the United States. The criminal enterprise brought women from China to New York, then transported them to Hennepin County for prostitution.

To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. For example, in 2016 a man was arrested in Maple Grove and later convicted for agreeing to hire for prostitution someone he reasonably believed was under age 18.  The man had responded to a juvenile escort ad placed online by undercover officers. They informed him the prostituted person was 16 years old and the suspect still requested sexual services. Officers gave the man an undercover apartment address in Maple Grove, where he arrived and was subsequently arrested. A forensic analysis of his phone showed he was communicating with undercover officers. He was charged with a felony and pleaded guilty. He was convicted of a gross misdemeanor and sentenced to a two-year probation. He was given 60 days in the workhouse, with 305 days stayed if he successfully completes his probation terms. He was fined $3,300 with $2,300 of it stayed. He was also required to receive therapy and undergo a psychosexual evaluation.

In 2015, another man was arrested in a web-based reverse sting in Maple Grove, for offering to hire a 15-year-old girl for sex.  The man responded to an online ad on backpage.com posted by undercover officers via text, asking how much it would cost for a certain type of sex. The undercover officer responded that it would cost $120 per hour. The undercover officer stated she was “almost 16.” When the suspect arrived at the indicated address in Maple Grove, he had $120 in cash. He later initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of hiring, offering or agreeing to hire prostitution from a 13- to 16-year-old, a felony. He later pleaded guilty. In an interview with law enforcement, he had admitted he agreed to pay $120 for sex from a girl who identified as being 15 years old. He was convicted in 2017 of a misdemeanor and sentenced to two years of probation. He was required to perform 15 days of service or spend 60 days in the workhouse. He completed 15 days of service. He was also required to receive a psychological evaluation and counseling, attend a sex offender program, not possess any sexually explicit material and not have any unsupervised contact with minor females except relatives. He was fined $200.

In March, 2021 a man was arrested in an undercover sting operation conducted by the Maple Grove Police Department that focused on electronic solicitation of minors.  The 70 year old defendant was charged with one count of prostitution-hiring/agreeing to hire an individual believing to be between the ages of 13 or 16 to engage in sexual contact. Officers had placed numerous advertisements in online publications known to be used by individuals engaging in prostitution. One of those individuals responding to the ads was allegedly a 70 year old man, who engaged in a text conversation with an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old girl.  The criminal complaint stated that the suspect and the undercover officer exchanged information relating to their future encounter when the undercover officer stated that she was under 20 and asked if 15 was okay, and the suspect stated it was fine.  They agreed on money and a time and place to meet.  The man went to a park in Maple Grove as instructed by the officer, was arrested, and was positively identified.  The arresting officer also called the phone the text messages originated from and determined it was the phone found on the suspect.  In a post-Miranda statement, the man admitted to texting with a person who said she was 15 and he agreed to pay for sex.  If convicted, he could face up to  10 years in prison for this felony charge and/or up to a $20,000 fine.

Key Partners

  • Maple Grove Police Department
  • Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

 

State Minnesota
Type City
Population 69576
Location
Comments are closed.