Colorado officials’ crackdown on human trafficking and prostitution

Human trafficking is on the rise in Colorado. Enforcement officers are working to remove offenders from the community, but these efforts could lead to wrongful convictions.

The FBI is making efforts across the nation to put an end to human trafficking, a crime that is becoming more prevalent in Colorado in recent years. According to the FBI’s Operation Cross Country VII, part of the Innocence Lost Task Force, Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for the number of operation arrests. The FBI admits that many of these individuals are likely “victims, not suspects,” according to a recent report in The Gazette. Officials arrested nine suspects in a span of three days in July, charged with connections to prostitution offenses. Colorado enforcement agencies also participated in earlier investigations that resulted in the issuance of sex crime charges. One conducted in June of 2013 focused on escorts who advertised online. The operation led to 12 arrests for prostitution related offenses. Another focused on an establishment in Golden called Happy Feet. The massage business was accused of prostitution, money laundering and tax evasion. Authorities note that they will help victims of these crimes that are pulled in from other countries. Victims are often brought to the country with the promise of a new life. Once they enter the country they must first pay off

the debt through either illegal work practices or commercial sex. Human trafficking and prostitution in Colorado Human trafficking is referred to as a modern day form of slavery. The term refers to the use of humans for exploitation and generally falls into one of two categories: forced labor or commercial sex. Operations run by the FBI focusing on prostitution are often concerned that human trafficking violations may also be present. Police departments throughout the state are concerned the level of human trafficking has increased and are reaching out to The Colorado Trafficking and Organized Crime Coalition (CTOCC) to assist in investigating and combating these violations. Agencies work to hold offenders accountable, but their efforts could lead to false accusations Although it is important to hold those who violate these laws accountable for their actions, it is equally important to drop any charges against those who are falsely accused of sex crimes. A false accusation could lead to a conviction that would negatively impact the accused for the rest of his or her life. Those accused of these crimes must take the charges seriously. A conviction can lead to various penalties, including imprisonment, monetary penalties and the need to register as a sex offender. Defenses are available that can lead to the reduction or even dismissal of charges. Contact an experienced Colorado sex crime lawyer to discuss your case and potential defenses.

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Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Kevin Annett: Canada

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

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Kevin Annett: Canada’s police involved in sex crimes

Kevin Annett, beaten in Vancouver on Wednesday, releases this new article about Canada’s police and churches involved in sex crimes and sex trafficking, including Native women and children. Annett has exposed the murder of Native children in church-operated residential schools in Canada and is pressing for the identification of the graves of disappeared Native children.

The Disappeared of Canada :

How and Why the Killings Have Never Stopped

A Sequel to last issue’s article “Child trafficking in Beautiful British Columbia ” in The Agora newspaper

By Kevin D. Annett

Hidden From History website:
Kevin Annett Assaulted
“Ten of the last dozen women to be taken to the killing site at Piggy’s Palace were accompanied by Mounties or regular cops. You think it was just Willie Picton who was killing them?”

Marion, sex trade worker, downtown eastside of Vancouver , May 10, 2006

In October of 1992, when I was still a United Church clergyman, I was approached by a colleague at my first Presbytery meeting in Nanaimo . The topic of child abuse came up, and after a few moments, the other man, a retired minister, smiled and gave me a sort of insider’s look. He lowered his voice and said to me,

“It’s easy to get a child in this town.”

I must have looked shocked, for his smile faded.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Nothing” he replied. “Some people are, you know, interested in that sort of thing.”

It all felt like an offer, masked but real, like a sort of masonic handshake: something known to insiders only.

The same man had worked in the United Church ’s Alberni Indian residential school for years, and piloted one of the “mission boats” that visited coastal Indian villages. One of my native parishioners later accused him of raping her as a child, but the RCMP threatened her not to press charges.

Later, after I was fired from the church for asking too many questions, I learned of the well-protected child trafficking network that linked the coastal residential schools with wealthy men and clubs in Vancouver . Just how many children disappeared into those clubs and never emerged is unknown; but they are among the more than 50,000 residential school children who cannot be accounted for.

“No crime ever disappears; it just adapts” a journalist once told me. And in British Columbia, the crime of abducting people is rampant, on the rise, and very lucrative, since it is part of a deadly international network in human trafficking.

George Brown is a retired aboriginal RCMP officer who was part of a community-based “Missing Persons’ Task Force” in Vancouver . His group documented hundreds of missing people until their work began to identify the complicity of local police, politicians and businessmen in the disappearances. At that point, George’s group disbanded.

“We didn’t want to get killed” George told me during a videotaped interview in the summer of 2005.

“I was called up by a senior officer in the force and told, ‘George, the number of disappeared women is nine, and it’s going to stay at nine. Stop sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong or you may lose it.’ The fact is I personally know two fellow Mounties who were linked with Picton and making money by bringing girls out to his place. None of the girls ever came back. Everybody knows about it.”

I asked George who “everybody” was. The world-weary man shook his head sadly.

“The Mayor. The Chief of Police. All the senior press people. Hell, you can’t get into those positions without making a deal with the drug lords who run this town. The days of organized crime as a separate thing are over. It’s all business run and legit now. It’s organized corporate crime now – the drug importers from Asia and the real estate developers and the off shore investors, they’re all part of the same gang. The cops all work for them. And body snatching pays well.”

George Brown’s group documented a link between the disappeared women of the downtown eastside and the trans-pacific organ trafficking network based in China . According to sources within the network, at least a dozen women and men are abducted and murdered every month in Vancouver , their bodies disposed of in protected grave sites on the north shore, and their organs shipped overseas.

Most of the disappeared are homeless men, transient youth or sex trade workers.

A year after I interviewed George Brown, I was given more confirmation of his groups’ claims. I received a message to meet a woman named Annie Parker at Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver ’s downtown eastside. Annie was a short, timid woman with haunted eyes and scars along her neck and arms.

“I got these by threatening to go to the press with what I knew” she said matter of factly, pointing to the scars.

“Who did it to you?” I asked.

She told me the man’s name, a senior RCMP officer, and then said,

“Who doesn’t matter. They’re all doing it. It’s called the ‘hooker game’. The Vancouver cops will pick up girls off the street, drug them with scopolamine and film them as they fuck them, in a cop club downtown on Georgia street . Then sometimes they kill the girls and film that too, and sell it for $25,000 as a snuff film.”

I asked her what happens to the bodies.

“That was one of Steve Picton’s specialties. I met all the Pictons. Steve runs a snuff film operation in Coquitlam and then he dumps the bodies at a hunting camp about ten miles up from Horseshoe Bay , near the Sea to Sky highway. There’s a special grave site there with sealed containers in a metal cistern. I was taken there, I seen it. It’s watched over by the Mounties.”

Les Guerin is an aboriginal man who lives and works as a maintenance man on the Musequam Indian reserve near the University of B.C. He claims that the reserve holds at least two body dumping sites from which he personally has excavated human remains, and had them forensically examined.

“As far back as 1989 I saw a man who I later identified as Willie Picton drive onto the Musqueam reserve and bury several large bags. Later when I saw his face on the news, I dug up the bags and had them examined at a lab at SFU. The report says they contain human and pig bones remains, including the humerus, pelvis and skull pieces of a young woman in her twenties.

“The weird thing is I told the Vancouver Police, the press, everybody about this, and nothing was ever done. I sent the police the forensic report, me and my buddy Jim Kew, I told the CBC and even the lawyers for the families of Picton’s victims. Nothing. The cops roped off the site in 2006 and that was that.”

A signed letter from Musqueam Band Housing Officer Glenn Guerin dated October 29, 2004 indicates that Dave Picton was employed by the Museum Indian band for a three month contract during 1990 to provide land fill for local street construction.

Frustrated by the lack of police response, in December of 2005, Les Guerin mailed the bone fragments he obtained from the Picton deposit, along with the forensic report, to Amnesty International’s head office in London , England. The package was returned unopened the following month.

Next month, the eyes of the world will be on British Columbia and its Olympics. But will those eyes perceive the missing men, women and children whose remains lie scattered in hidden graves – and the authorities who put them there? Will the visiting world media record the truth of those who continue to disappear?

Most important, will the killings be stopped?

That depends on us.


Rev. Kevin Annett is a community minister, educator and award-winning film maker who lives and works in Vancouver ’s downtown eastside. He is a member of the revived Community Task Force into Missing Persons. For more information on this Group, and for a copy of their recent report on which this article is based, contact Kevin at: or 1-888-265-1007 (messages).

His website is:

Read and Hear the truth of Genocide in Canada, past and present, at this website: , and watch Kevin’s award-winning documentary film UNREPENTANT on the same website.

UNREPENTANT: Kevin Annett and Canada’s Genocide
– Winner, Best Foreign Documentary Film, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, March 2007
– Winner, Best Canadian Film, Creation Aboriginal Film Festival, Edmonton, 2009

Soon to be released feature film, THE DIARY, based on Kevin Annett’s epic struggle to bring to light genocide in Canada – see the trailer at:


Sex offender sought in Walmart assault

Titusville police are seeking the public’s help in finding a registered sex offender they say molested a girl last month in a local Walmart.

An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Roger A. Fincher, 41, on charges of lewd or lascivious molestation and aggravated stalking, Detective Jessica Edens said in a statement. Fincher, who has three prior convictions in North Carolina for sex crimes against children, is suspected of molesting a 10-year-old girl on Dec. 20 at the store at 3175 Cheney Highway, Edens reported.

Police said Fincher spent about 30 minutes in the store before “approaching and inappropriately touching the victim.” Security tapes seem to indicate that the suspect was roaming the store before the assault, the statement reads.

Police said the man then left the building and got into a semi truck parked on the automotive side of the store, then left the area.

On Wednesday, the Fort Pierce Police Department received a “nearly identical” report of an 11-year-old girl being molested at a Walmart in that city.

Titusville and Fort Pierce police detectives worked together to identify Fincher as the suspect. Fincher is a registered sex offender from Leicester, N.C. His three prior convictions in that state for sex crimes against children are under similar circumstances, police said.

Police described Fincher as a white, 5-foot, 10-inch man weighing 235 pounds. He has light brown-red hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt with pocket on it, blue jeans and white-and-black tennis shoes. The black hat he was wearing had a white stripe along the back, a red bill and a white “3” on the front. He was seen driving a semi with a green cab and white trailer.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Fincher is urged to call Titusville police at 264-7800 or their local law enforcement agency. Residents who want to remain anonymous can text message information to CRIMES (274637). Texters are asked to include the acronym “TPD” with their tip. Informants can also anonymously call 800-423-TIPS (8477).


Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 3:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Some sex offenders escape restriction

Sex offenders who committed serious sex crimes out of state can live anywhere they choose in Iowa because of a loophole in state law.

The law, overhauled last spring, continues to restrict those who commit felony sexual abuse in Iowa from living within 2,000 feet of schools or child care centers. But because of a flaw in how the statute was written, it doesn’t apply to abusers with comparable convictions from other states who move to Iowa.

“They made a big mistake, and now we’ve got people moving in,” said Rep. Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, a candidate for governor and one of a handful of lawmakers who voted against the changes.

Just how many out-of-state offenders with a history of felony-level sexual abuse who have moved close to schools or child care centers in Iowa is unclear. That would take a time-consuming examination of records in the Iowa sex offender registry, state public safety officials said.

Lawmakers changed the sex offender law last year to try to better monitor where sex offenders go while they are awake, rather than only restricting where they can sleep.

The new law, widely supported by law enforcement, narrowed the list of offenders who are forbidden from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child care center to those who commit Class C felony sexual abuse.

It also bans everyone on the state’s sex offender registry whose victim was a minor from being present on the grounds of an elementary or secondary school, public library or child care center without permission, or from loitering within 300 feet of a public playground, sport-related activity area, pool or beach when it is in use by a minor.

Ross Loder, a lobbyist for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said the law as a whole is better with the updates. He said he will urge lawmakers to fix the loophole when the next session of the Iowa Legislature begins on Monday.

Rants and Rep. Kent Sorenson, R-Indianola, are drafting a bill that would close the loophole and broaden the 2,000-foot rule again so that anyone with a sex offense against a minor would be subject to the restriction.

Child abuse experts say the changes made last spring are smart because statistics prove sexual abuse cases typically do not involve strangers picking random children from places where kids gather. They usually involve abuse committed by a child’s close relative or trusted family friend.

But Democrats and Republicans negotiated the changes behind closed doors, fearing the controversial update could be political suicide if Iowans thought they were weakening sex offender laws.

At the end of the three-month session, lawmakers passed an agreed-upon bill with very little public discussion.

Rants contends the flaw could have been caught if the process had been more open.

“We warned folks there were going to be problems with their rush to get it down without a thorough discussion,” Rants said. “They just expected everyone to be quiet and go along with it with no public scrutiny.”

The new law also clarifies which offenders are required to register and when. The law ensures they register when they come to Iowa to live, work or go to school.

Loder said special restrictions can be imposed on a case-by-case basis if someone under supervision is transferred to Iowa. A parole or probation officer can stop an offender from living, say, next to a school bus stop or within sight of a school.

And those on the sex offender registry now have closer contact with law enforcement because they are required to check in in person and to get a new photo if they’ve changed their appearance.

Loder pointed out that crafting the new law was far from simple.

“When you put together a 55-page bill, it’s a very, very complex framework you’re developing,” he said.


Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 12:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Corruption bust leads top-10 list, Christie and Goldman follow

“Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, Lakewood, covers himself as he leaves federal court in Newark in July after his arrest as part of a corruption probe.”

“Gov.-elect Chris Christie, left, and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Guadagno greet their supporters after unseating incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine to win the state governors race in Parsippany on Nov. 3.”

A string of high-profile stories put New Jersey and the Shore at the center of national and international media attention in 2009.

From a massive corruption bust to a hotly contested and closely watched gubernatorial election to the end of a Monmouth County family’s fight to regain custody of an abducted child, the first decade of the 21st century was packed with big headlines.

But the annual list of the year’s top ten stories compiled by Press editors and reporters also contains articles that chronicle powerful events that never made national news. Here they are:

1.”> OPERATION BID RIG: On July 23, New Jersey’s largest-ever corruption probe turned into the year’s biggest story, as 44 were cuffed and charged with offenses that ranged from bribe taking to trafficking in human kidneys.”>The FBI’s Operation Bid Rig arrests followed two tracks: officials accused of corruption and rabbis in Syrian Jewish and Hasidic communities accused of money laundering.

Among those arrested were the mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, as well as Ocean County Republican Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, Lakewood Housing Inspector Jeffrey Williamson and rabbis from congregations in Deal and Long Branch.

At the center of the scandal was″> Solomon Dwek, the former real estate mogul from Ocean Township who became a cooperating witness in the investigation after he was arrested for bank fraud in 2006.

2. CHRISTIE ELECTED GOVERNOR: Responding to a tax-cut platform, recession-weary New Jersey voters chose Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie in this year’s gubernatorial election, ousting Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in a contentious race that, while close, led to the biggest GOP victory since 1970.

Christie took 49 percent of the vote and Corzine took 44 percent. Independent Chris Daggett, who had a strong debate performance but faded in the polls at the end of his campaign, won 6 percent.

Monmouth and Ocean counties proved their political clout in the race, delivering 22 percent of Christie’s vote.

3.”>THE FIGHT FOR SEAN GOLDMAN: Tinton Falls father”>David Goldman’s five-year international custody battle for his 9-year-old son Sean attracted attention worldwide this year as lawmakers, State Department officials and even President Barack Obama joined efforts to return Sean to the U.S. from Brazil, where he was living with Goldman’s former in-laws.

Goldman’s wife, now deceased, took their son to Brazil in 2004 and never returned. Her family and the man she married, a prominent and influential lawyer, fought off Goldman’s attempts to regain custody of Sean until last week, when a Brazilian judge ordered they turn the boy over to his father. Goldman and his son returned to the U.S. in time for Christmas.

4.”> ECONOMIC FALLOUT ON THE JERSEY SHORE: The longest recession since the Great Depression continued at least until the fall of this year, but its damage lingered all year. New Jersey and the Shore felt the pain.

From January to November, the state lost 88,900 jobs, and its unemployment rate rose from 7.3 percent to 9.7 percent. When the unemployment rate reached 9.8 percent in September, it marked the highest jobless rate since 1977, according to the state.

Behind the job losses was an economy trying to recover form the housing market’s collapse. Despite attempts this year to breathe life into the market with mortgage rate cuts and first-time homebuyer credits, the median price of an existing home in the region that includes the Shore was $343,800 during the third quarter, down 8.9 percent from $377,300 in the same quarter a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Still, some experts are hopeful that the worst is over.

“It was really a year of stabilization and setting a stage for what should be recovery in 2010,” Jeffrey Otteau, an East Brunswick-based real estate analyst.

5.”>SEX ABUSE IN THE LAKEWOOD ORTHODOX COMMUNITY: What some have called an epidemic of sexual abuse in Orthodox Jewish communities in Lakewood and elsewhere in the country was spotlighted this year as Jewish leaders, abuse survivors and activists clashed over how to deal with the problem.

While Lakewood’s rabbinical leaders strongly deny their residents are discouraged from reporting sex abuse to law enforcement, many critics said that’s exactly what has happened, and have blasted the internal tribunals set up to address abuse in the community as ineffective.

But changes began over the summer, as leaders in Lakewood planned seminars for teachers, clergy, parents and others on how to prevent and fight abuse. One rabbinical court that handled many of the town’s abuse allegations also was closed, and Orthodox leaders met with Ocean County prosecutors to fuse a joint approach to dealing with sex crimes.

“We blithely thought that religious values would keep this from happening,” said Ronald D. Price, the executive vice president of the Union for Traditional Judaism. “But enough evidence has come forward where you reach that tipping point, and a responsible leader has to acknowledge it, even if he doesn’t want to.”

6. EMINENT DOMAIN BATTLE ENDS IN LONG BRANCH: In September, an eight-year battle between a group of Long Branch residents and city officials over whether properties could be seized through eminent domain came to an end as both parties signed a settlement allowing residents to stay in their homes.

Members of the Marine Terrace, Ocean Terrace, Seaview Avenue Alliance had fought since 2003 to stop the redevelopment that threatened to level the working-class neighborhood that sits between Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park and the city’s first phase of the Beachfront North redevelopment project.

In what lawyers called a “complete win” for the homeowners, the consent order not only eliminated the use of eminent domain in the MTOTSA neighborhood, but gave property owners the right to act as their own redevelopers, providing incentives and five-year tax abatements on any improvements they make.

Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider pledged residents in several communities would never again be threatened with the use of eminent domain in connection with redevelopment. He and other council members resisted efforts by one councilman to introduce an ordinance that would outlaw the use of eminent domain throughout the city.

7. THREE CONVICTED IN KILLING CONNECTED TO LAKEWOOD BARBERSHOP MURDER GET LIFE: The sentence was handed down early this month: Lee Reeves, Jamell Scott and James Russell, the three Lakewood men convicted of murdering 55-year-old Athelma Vasquez as she slept on a couch in her Lakewood apartment on Oct. 14, 2008, would serve life in prison.

Vasquez was shot to death the same day two of her killers and another man went on trial for the Feb. 7, 2006, murder of 21-year-old Jose Francisco Olivares in the Man, Woman and Child barbershop in Lakewood. Russell and Scott were sentenced to life in prison last year for that gang-related killing.

Prosecutors argued Vasquez was killed in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Christian Vivar Granados, the boyfriend of Vazquez’s daughter, Alisa Morales, from testifying at the barbershop murder trial. Morales and Granados also were supposed to be killed, but their lives were spared because Reeves’ gun jammed after he shot Vasquez, prosecutors said.

While Reeves expressed remorse for killing Vasquez at the sentencing, Scott and Russell both maintained their innocence, and their lawyers promised to appeal their convictions.

8”>. SOLOMON DWEK PLEADS GUILTY TO BANK FRAUD: In 2006, Solomon Dwek was a well-respected real estate mogul with a $300 million empire in seven states. Now, the 37-year-old son of a prominent Monmouth County rabbi is a community outcast and admitted felon facing up to 11 years in prison.

Dwek pleaded guilty Oct. 20 in federal court in Newark to one count each of money-laundering and bank fraud after admitting that he defrauded PNC Bank in 2006 by depositing a phony $25.2 million check — which was credited to his account before the checked cleared — and then wiring away $22.2 million the next day. A day later, he tried the same scam, which was rejected after PNC already lost millions.

But in the twists and turns of the four-year-long case, Dwek became the linchpin of a major FBI anti-corruption case in which 44 politicians, public officials and rabbis — some from his own Orthodox Jewish community in Ocean Township and Deal — were arrested in a sweeping corruption and money-laundering sting this July.

Dwek is free on a $10 million bond until his Feb. 9 sentencing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has said it may recommend a lighter sentence based on Dwek’s ongoing cooperation.

9. LAKEWOOD POLICE SHOOTINGS: A September drug raid on a Lakewood house by a joint force of township police and federal, state and county officials ended in the first police shooting at the Shore in more than a decade.

Patrolmen Jonathan Wilson and Leonard Nieves Sr., Lt. Gregory Meyer and Sgt. Louis Sasso, all of the Lakewood Police Department, were shot by the target of the probe who was upstairs in the two-story house when the authorities, bearing a no-knock search warrant, forced their way into the home.

Wilson, a decorated, six-year veteran of the township police force, was shot in the face, and Meyer was shot in the foot; both were hospitalized and survived, though Wilson may never fully regain the ability to see form his left eye. Nieves and Sgt. Sasso were spared serious injuries by their bulletproof vests. The man police identified as the shooter, Jaime Gonzalez, 39, was critically wounded during the raid, and has since been charged with four counts of attempted murder and drug and weapons possession charges; two others have also been charged in connection with the incident.

10–George-E.-Smith–accepts-Nobel-Prize-in-Physics”>. LOCAL MAN WINS NOBEL PRIZE: In 1969, current Waretown resident George E. Smith was a researcher for Bell Labs in Union County, batting around ideas for improving data storage with co-worker Willard S. Boyle. Together, they sketched the CCD, a chip that transforms patterns of light into useful electrical information.

Their invention led directly to the development of a staggering array of imaging technologies, from digital cameras to high-powered astronomy telescopes. It also won them the Nobel Prize for physics this year.

Smith and his wife, Janet Murphy, traveled to Stockholm, Sweden earlier this month, where Smith accepted the award, which came with his share of the $1.4 million in prize money. In interviews, Smith was humble about the discovery that changed the way people everywhere see the world.

“I won’t tell you about all the times we sat at the blackboard and came up with duds,” he said.


Published in: on December 27, 2009 at 10:05 am  Comments (1)  
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Adults Charged With Sex Trafficking in Tea, SD

A multi agency FBI sex trafficking investigation is underway in Tea, SD.

Federal Court paperwork says two adults are behind bars tonight for a sex trafficking violation in Tea.

FBI agents say 26 year old Brandon Thompson and 30 year old Megan Hayes were arrested near Thompson’s home on East Brian Street last Friday in Tea. They have both been charged with sex trafficking of a child and are being held at the Minnehaha County jail tonight.

The court paperwork also says the two were employing underage females to work as prositutues.

A witness in the paperwork identifies a website called The witness says this is the site the two used to advertise their services. At least one minor victim is identified in the court paper work and FBI agents say they take sex crimes involving minors very seriously.

FBI Special Agent E.K. Wilson: “Any time there is potential for exploration of a minor whether its sex trafficking or child porn its going to give it an extra sense of priority with the FBI.”

One of the many agencies involved in this investigation is the South Dakota Joint Terrorism Task Force. Action News will continue working this story and keep you updated.


Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 7:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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