MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seven men face charges in Washington County after authorities carried out a sex trafficking sting last week.
Jason Weidner, Antonio Silva, Naveen Fitterer, Joshua Hickerson and Robert Engvall each face an underage prostitution charge, while Michael Fiedler and German Galicia are charged with electronic communication with a minor.
The “juvenile exploitation operation” began Wednesday when undercover officers with the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force posted decoy messages and pictures on commercial sex websites and social media platforms.
Each of the seven men charged is alleged to have responded to one of those postings and arranged a meetup to participate in sexual acts with what they believed was an underage girl.
All of the men are in custody.
“The prolific level of response revived by law enforcement illustrates the need to continue to focusing proactively to eradicate sex trafficking,” Washington County Assistant Criminal Division Chief Imran Ali said in a release. “As many of our children are now on summer break, it is imperative that parents continue to remain vigilant in protecting their children from the dangers that exist online.”