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7 charged in Washington County sex sting targeting juvenile exploitation

An undercover officer posed as a 15-year-old girl, and agreed to meet men who responded to an ad on an online dating website.

STILLWATER, Minn. — Editors note: The video above originally aired in August of 2019.

Seven men are criminally charged after authorities say they were caught in a sting set up to combat the exploitation of minor children caught up in the sex industry. 

On June the sting was executed by the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force (EMSTTF), a partnership that includes the Washington County Attorney and Sheriff's Office, Oakdale and Woodbury and Cottage Grove Police Departments, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. An undercover Homeland Security officer posted a message on MeetMe, a commercial website police say is known as a place where sex acts for money are agreed upon, along with a picture of an unknown adult female who appears underage. 

Criminal complaints against the defendants say each man contacted an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old female, started to chat and then struck deals to have sex for money and in some cases, alcohol. The men then showed up at an apartment complex in Oakdale for the encounters, where they were promptly arrested. 

“Our mission remains consistent that we continue to remain proactive in addressing sex trafficking in Minnesota," said Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry in a released statement. "These operations are essential to decreasing the demand for commercial sex.”

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said those arrested and charged are:

  • Michael Joseph Fiedler (11-13-1972), Electronic Communication with a Minor 
  • Jason Richard Weidner (06-14-1982), Underage Prostitution, 13-16
  • German Iban Galicia (04-08-1988),  Electronic Communication with a Minor
  • Antonio Diangelo Silva (07-11-1993),  Underage Prostitution, 13-16
  • Naveen Todd Fitterer (06/26/1987),  Underage Prostitution, 13-16
  • Joshua Emanuel Hickerson (12-23-1993), Underage Prostitution, 13-16
  • Robert Charles Engvall (01-21-1969), Underage Prostitution, 13-16 

Orput says over the last seven years, the EMSTTF has carried out dozens of undercover operations with the aim of decreasing the demand for commercial sex in the online marketplace. 

 

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