ST. PAUL — Four men were charged this week following their arrests on Sept. 17 during a human trafficking operation in St. Louis County. The operation targeted people attempting to buy a minor for sex.
Investigators with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)-led Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force led the one-day operation in partnership with the Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking (TRUST) Task Force and the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office.
During the operation, suspects chatted with undercover agents and investigators on several sex advertisement websites. Investigators arrested the suspects as they arrived at an arranged meeting place to pay a victim for sex. All were booked into the St. Louis County Jail and later released.
Melvin Eugene Brown, 43, of Duluth, is charged with felony solicitation of a minor for prostitution.
George Stephan Myers, 59, Embarrass, Minn., is charged with solicitation of an adult for prostitution, a gross misdemeanor.
Mitchell Todd Pelkey, 22, of Hermantown, Minn., is charged with felony solicitation of a minor for prostitution.
Scott Robert Wermter, 47, of Hawthorne, Wisc., is charged with felony solicitation of a minor for prostitution.
Many additional agencies provided resources and expertise to this effort, including the Anoka and Hennepin County sheriff's offices; the Fond du Lac, Fridley, Leech Lake Tribal, Hibbing, Minneapolis, and St. Paul police departments; and Homeland Security Investigations.
“We will not tolerate victimization of our women, men and children," said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “Purchasing another person for sex has no place in Minnesota."
“The commitment of resources to this operation was an easy decision," said St. Louis County Undersheriff Jason Lukovsky. “These people are not looking for relationships, they are preying on victims within our community."
The Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force was established in 2017 with funding from the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs as a statewide enforcement effort to target traffickers and those exploiting children for sex.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of being trafficked, call 911. To report a suspected trafficking situation, call the BCA at 877-996-6222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.