Photo: Washington County
Photo: Washington County
August 13, 2018 03:21 PM
A Blaine man accused of being part of a sex trafficking ring was sentenced to over four years in prison late last week.
Court records in Washington County show DongZhu Jiang received two 53-month sentences to be served concurrently. He had pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering and aiding and abetting in sex trafficking. He was given credit for 535 days served.
According to a criminal complaint, police were tipped off about a large human trafficking operation in St. Louis Park in February, 2017. A search warrant of the address turned up two women who did not speak English in an apartment with two bedrooms. Each bedroom had a mattress on the floor and nightstand with condoms and lubricant.
Used condoms were found in a garbage can, and authorities learned a Wi-Fi security camera was installed to monitor the women. The women's passports were taken by the traffickers.
Oakdale and Woodbury police were aware of similar advertisements in Washington County, and a detective made an undercover phone call to the number, obtaining an address to an Oakdale hotel on Feb. 17.
The Washington County Attorney's office Human Trafficking Unit set up surveillance of the hotel room with the goal to "verify that commercial sex acts were occurring and to identify a potential trafficker," according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities observed several men entering and exiting the hotel room approximately 15 minutes later.
Police conducted a traffic stop of a man who was leaving the hotel who told police he responded to a Backpage.com advertisement and had sex for $150. Police noticed traffic decrease after the traffic stop, and they tried to identify the trafficker and victim.
However, large traffic in the lobby area and parking lot obstructed their view of car female got into. The following day, the detective called the same ad and was given three locations to choose from: Maplewood, Brooklyn Center and Cottage Grove.
Authorities picked Maplewood and asked hotel management to evict the woman from the room because sexual exploitation was happening. The woman, who was the same victim from the day before, was picked up by a car with California license plates. Police followed the car into Woodbury, where she was dropped off at another hotel.
The vehicle was stopped, and Jiang, the driver, was detained. Jiang told police he was the "driver" of Asian female sex workers, according to the criminal complaint.
Updated: August 13, 2018 03:21 PM
Created: August 13, 2018 03:13 PM
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