2 Men Charged in Sex-Trafficking Ring Investigation

Zhaxi Taxing (right) and Sonam Tsering (left) Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Department
Zhaxi Taxing (right) and Sonam Tsering (left)

July 11, 2017 10:56 AM

Two men have been charged in connection with what prosecutors allege was national sex-trafficking operation that brought Chinese women into Edina and Richfield to be used as prostitutes.

A release from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office states Sonam Tsering, 36 of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Zhaxi Taxing, 41 of St. Louis Park, have each been charged with engaging in the sex trafficking of an individual. Tsering also faces charges of promoting the prostitution of an individual and receiving profits from prostitution.

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Taxing made his first court appearance Monday. Tsering made his first appearance last month.

Taxing remains in the Hennepin County Jail. Tsering is not currently in custody.

According to the criminal complaints, Bloomington police investigating prostitution in November of last year encountered an ad on backpage.com for commercial sex with Asian women. After calling the number, an officer was allegedly directed to an apartment in Edina where he was met by a woman in lingerie, whom the complaint said spoke only Chinese.

But through a translator, she reportedly said she had been brought to the Twin Cities to work as a prostitute. An investigation into rental information on the apartment allegedly led officers to identify Taxing as a suspect. The complaint states he was later seen moving items from that apartment to one in Richfield.

The complaint states officers monitoring the Richfield apartment noticed numerous men coming and going. Investigators also reportedly responded to another backpage.com ad and were directed to the Richfield apartment.

Authorities reportedly seized a cell phone from Taxing on which it is alleged they discovered communications with a woman known to be involved with sex trafficking. His bank records also allegedly showed he deposited $52,000 in less than five months.

A woman at the Richfield apartment allegedly told police Tsering lived with her, and she gave him the money she earned in prostitution.

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Frank Rajkowski

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