The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced that six men will face charges after a human trafficking operation in Bemidji.
The two-day sting was centered on the 100 block of Lake Shore Dr., and the 1000 block of Paul Bunyan Dr. S., according to the local police blotter.
The Bemidji Police Department and Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office assisted the BCA-led Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force, as did the Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking (TRUST) Task Force.
“This operation was part of our ongoing, collective commitment to rid our communities of sexual exploitation,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans.
“It is never okay to purchase another person for sex.”
The BCA said on their website that each of the following men responded to an online ad soliciting sex. They were arrested and booked into the Beltrami County Jail, pending formal charges.
- Michael Lee Eichstadt, 56, of Bemidji, Minn.
- Quint Kyle Ironnecklace, 24, of Bemidji, Minn.
- Lance Armon Jones, 39, of Oakville, Washington.
- Dennis Michael Murphy, 43, of Park Rapids, Minn. Mr. Murphy also faces probable cause possession of a controlled substance.
- Matthew F. Senica, 49, of Illinois.
- Philip Edward Toomey, Jr., 48, of Maywood, Missouri.
An Enbridge spokeswoman confirmed that two of the arrested were employees of a sub-contractor working on Line 3.
The two men, according to the statement, were immediately fired after their employer’s learned of their arrests.
“We remain steadfast, united in our commitment to compliance with all anti-trafficking and anti-exploitation laws and our zero tolerance for those who seek to deprive others of their fundamental freedoms and human rights,” said Juli Kellner, Enbridge Communications Specialist.
Enbridge contractors for Line 3 include Precision Pipeline and Michels, and the four unions supplying workers are International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 798, and Teamsters International.