Shakopee, 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

Shakopee is a city of approximately 45,000 residents located near downtown Minneapolis, to the southwest in Scott County. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities and unincorporated areas of the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul metro region. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with prostitution in the area is child sex trafficking.

To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand, which provides the revenue stream driving all prostitution and trafficking. For example, sixteen people were arrested in Shakopee as part of a seven-day sex trafficking sting operation in the metro area in the days before and after the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis. The Shakopee Police Department was heavily involved in two sex trafficking sting operations in the region. After months of planning, Shakopee Sgt. John Buetow headed an operation with assistance from Carver County, Chaska, Savage, Belle Plaine, and New Prague in surveillance, arrests ,and interviews. First they worked with the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension from January 26 to February 2, and then they assisted the Guardian Angels Task Force. A Shakopee home was used as part of an undercover operation, and of the 16 people arrested in Shakopee, only one person was from Shakopee. The BCI sting resulted in 43 arrests, and the Guardian Angels Task Force arrested over 100 people. In the BCA operations, people posed as minors online, while Guardian Angels ran ads offering juvenile escorts.

The BCA said three dozen were booked on probable cause for solicitation of a minor and seven were booked for sex trafficking or promoting prostitution. Those numbers reflect only the BCA’s task force and do not include arrests on similar charges or stings conducted by other law enforcement agencies. The BCA leads the inter-agency Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force, which includes personnel from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Paul and Minneapolis police departments, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the Ramsey County Attorney’s office. The reverse sting also included the participation of the Carver, Crow Wing, Dakota, Pope, and Ramsey County sheriff’s offices, the Belle Plaine, Chaska, New Prague, North St. Paul, Savage, and Shakopee police departments, and the Scott and Washington county attorney’s offices.

“Now that the Super Bowl is past, these arrests should serve as a stark reminder that what drives the exploitation and trafficking of vulnerable people is the demand,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a prepared statement. “Notably, as shown by these arrests, the demand is a local problem and involves men from our own community who want to exploit very young girls and boys.”

A similar Guardian Angels operation during the Ryder Cup in 2016 in Chaska resulted in nine arrests in Shakopee. Law enforcement posted ads on Craigslist and for those prior operations.

Key Partners

  • Shakopee Police Department
  • Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force
    • Anoka County Sheriff’s Office
    • St. Paul Police Department
    • Minneapolis Police Department
    • Department of Homeland Security Investigations
    • Ramsey County Attorney’s Office
  • Carver County Sheriff’s Office
  • Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dakota County Sheriff’s Office
  • Pope County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office
  • Belle Plaine Police Department
  • Chaska Police Department
  • New Prague Police Department
  • North St. Paul Police Department
  • Savage Police Department
  • Shakopee Police Department
  • Scott County Attorney’s Office
  • Washington County Attorney’s Office
State Minnesota
Type City
Population 44547
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