ST. PAUL, Minn.
— Prosecutors on Tuesday charged five St. Paul residents in what
authorities allege was a multistate sex-trafficking ring whose
victims included minors.
The two men and
three women each face seven counts for allegedly trafficking
multiple victims, including a 16- and a 17-year-old, in 2013 and
2014, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1GOSv33) reported.
According to the
criminal complaints filed in Ramsey County court, the suspects
posted ads for sex on Backpage.com in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa,
Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Georgia.
"This was a
well-organized sex trafficking operation, funded entirely by men
paying for sex with vulnerable girls and young women in our
community," County Attorney John Choi said in a statement.
Charged are Suwan
Cross, 19; Thomas William Evans, 25; Yolanda Foster, 28; Doris
Keller, 38; and Ishmael Williams, 19.
Cross was charged
via warrant and is not in custody Tuesday. The other suspects were
booked into the Ramsey County Jail Tuesday and are expected to
make their first court appearance Wednesday. Online court records
do not list defense attorneys.
list six victims in the ring — girls and women who, in 2014,
were between the ages of 16 and 24.
made the victims call him "Daddy," while Cross went by
the nickname "Mama Sue." Many of the victims called
allege that Evans made the victims watch movies involving pimps so
they could learn rules such as not talking to other men, putting
their heads down and keeping silent.
One victim told
authorities that Evans trafficked her for a month, during which
time she met with about seven johns a day, making about $400 to
$500 daily that went to Evans.
In August 2014,
Evans, Williams and Cross took three victims to Racine, Wisconsin,
and Milwaukee, and to Chicago, the charges allege. The victims
were required to respond to Backpage.com ads and also to
"walk the streets." The charges said one victim, who had
turned 16 that summer, "was ultimately dropped at a bus line
in Chicago and sent back to Minnesota because she was felt to be
'too young' to be out on the road."
The ring was
broken up by St. Paul police conducting a sex-trafficking detail
in September 2014.