Morton County, ND

Tactics Used

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

Morton County is located within the Bismarck, North Dakota metro area, along the Missouri River in the southern part of the state. The county’s population is roughly 30,000, and its government seat is the city of Mandan.  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in Mandan and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Morton County. For example, in 1977 the Mandan Police Department was investigating possible violations of controlled substance laws and noted suspicious activity consistent with prostitution in a club. A subsequent sting operation led to the arrest of two women on prostitution charges. 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 crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.  Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in June, 2019 a web-based reverse sting was conducted in Mandan that led to the arrest of three sex buyers, and also led to a substantial meth bust. Burleigh County Sheriff’s officials began a sting with a deputy posing on social media as a prostituted woman. A 49-year-old Mandan man contacted the deputy and made arrangements to meet, where he was arrested. A search of his home netted three pounds of meth in his bedroom closet and $80,000 in cash. The man faces a felony drug charge and a misdemeanor charge of hiring a person to engage in sexual activity. A 39-year-old man and a 71-year-old man were also arrested in the sting. Their identities were included in later news reports.

Key Partners

  • Morton County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mandan Police Department
  • Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office
State North Dakota
Type County
Population 30976
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