2 Charged in Multi-State Prostitution Operation Centered in Lake Minnetonka Home

May 19, 2017 06:51 AM

A Wayzata couple is charged after a prostitution sting was carried out Tuesday at the Lake Minnetonka home they were renting.

Ricky Arlen Turner, 28, faces felony counts including aiding and abetting a racketeering enterprise, aiding and abetting to engage in business of concealing criminal proceeds, engaging in sex trafficking of individuals under 18 years old and promoting prostitution of an individual.

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Turner, a self-proclaimed "pimp," according to his Facebook page, was arrested along with his "wife," 25-year-old Brittany Marie Harenza.

Harenza's faces two charges: aiding and abetting a racketeering enterprise and aiding and abetting to engage in business of concealing criminal proceeds.

The criminal complaint describes at length what is believed to multi-state enterprise, sometimes involving underage girls. 

Investigation 

The criminal complaint details the following: 

In January 2017, Backpage.com closed its escort section of the website, and some of those ads now appeared under the "dating" section of the website. A detective flagged a photo of a woman in lingerie was posted in this section with a phone number that belonged to Harenza.

Investigators requested an administrative subpoena and found more than 1,600 commercial sex advertisements associated with the phone number. The advertisements had more than 35 different female advertisements connected to the account.

The posts for "in call" and "out call" services were listed in 14 different states, and it appears the enterprise potentially went on for years.

Police obtained the IP address, which was connected to the a cable account at the home on the 2800 block of McKenzie Point on Lake Minnetonka.

Investigators combed through the Facebook accounts of the two and "discovered much of the content was centered on commercial sex," the criminal complaint states. 

"Ricky Turner Jr." and "Brittany FinesseBunnie Harenza" had Facebook posts that promoted prostitution, authorities believed. 

Turner had several nicknames for himself, including "King Finesse," "Daddy" and "Pimp." Female victims were referred to as "Finesse Bunnies," "hoes" or "304," which investigators note is hoe spelled upside down on a calculator. 

Police identified Harenza as the "bottom." 

"In sex trafficking cases, often the trafficker will have a trusted female who acts as a business partner and sometimes as sex worker," the complaint states. 

Investigators say Harenza would recruit and train women, while Turner would share pictures of her and call him his "wifey." 

By February 2017, investigators determined the two were officially business partners. A business is filed with the state under the name, "Finesse the World and Co., LLC." A website connected to the business appeared to sell clothing, however, "no items are or have been listed for sale," the complaint states.

Minnetonka police set up surveillance of the house and noticed frequent, short-termed traffic. They also observed what "is believed the 'in call' commercial sex acts occurr(ing) in the guest house." 

Detectives obtained a search warrant of Facebook messages between Nov. 15, 2016, and March 16, 2017, for both Harenza and Turner. The messages detailed recruitment and profit with prospective recruits.     

Criminal History

Police discovered Harenza and Turner had a run-in with authorities in San Diego, California, in May 2016. A woman reported she met Harenza at a mall in Texas and was communicating with her in two years. 

Harenza allegedly offered to buy the young woman a plane ticket to San Diego. The woman was allegedly picked up by the couple and brought to a hotel, where she said Turner tried to "choke her." She ran out to a hotel employee. 

Authorities were able to line Backpage ads in different states with Turner and Harenza's travels across the country. 

Turner has a criminal history in Minnesota, including multiple aggravated robbery convictions in 2007 in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka and Sherburne counties, as well as possession and selling and possession of marijuana.      

Sting

Investigators responded to advertisements, obtaining rates for services and the lake home address through text conversations. 

Authorities also tracked down three "customers" through reviews that were posted after their services. 

A sting operation was set up for Tuesday, May 16. Investigators set up an appointment at a Woodbury hotel and agreed to pay $550 for two hours. The person texting the undercover team sent a picture of Harenza. 

Harenza met the undercover detective around 5:15 p.m. and asked for the "donation." A small purse was placed on the nightstand, and she took her shirt off. 

The detective said the "bust signal," and Harenza was detained. The zippered purse contained condoms and lubricant.

Harenza admitted to posting ads on Backpage.com, but she said she was not a trafficking victim. 

Meanwhile, a search warrant was executed on the Wayzata home, and police found Turner in a vehicle with two females who attended a local high school aged 17 and 18. 

One of the girls later told police she met Turner at the Wayzata Chipotle, and he called himself a "pimp," asking the girls to work for him. 

The girl said Turner said his "wife" worked for him and offered the girl "a lot of money and cars" to work for him.  

Turner was detained. 

He later told police he gave Harenza "the game," teaching her "how to go about it." He said he received profit from commercial sex of several women, but also said Harenza didn't give him the actual money. 

"She make the deposits into the business account," the criminal complaint states Turner said. 

Several agencies were involved in the sting, including Woodbury, Minnetonka, St. Paul, Oakdale, Cottage Grove, Eden Prairie police departments, as well as the Washington County Sheriff's Office. 

Charges

The two were charged in Washington County Thursday. 

More charges could be possible as investigators continue a "forensic examination" of the pair. The criminal complaint states early examination reveals "a prolific amount of trafficking over a long period of time."

Authorities said in the criminal complaint after reading text conversations, "it appears the illegal enterprise also may rely on robbing or stealing items from 'customers.'" 

The criminal complaint also notes the two have not paid income taxes since 2014. The property the couple is renting is more than $5,000 a month. The two were seen with a BMW, posted pictures of money and marijuana and also traveled extensively.  

Reaction

KSTP spoke with neighbors who live near the location where the sting took place.

"I'm really really disappointed about the whole thing," John Kretsch said

Kretsch says he didn't notice anything suspicious in the neighborhood.

"I didn't even know them. Nothing. I knew the home had been sold a few years back," Kretsch said. 

Despite the fact he didn't notice anything odd happening a few doors down, he's appreciative of the police work during this investigation.

"I'm just really appalled. I hope they're going to be out of the picture here very shortly", Kretsch said. "I hope the police continue to do a good job."

Credits

Theresa Malloy

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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