Sioux Falls, SD
Eighteen men are arrested in Minnehaha County for trying to buy sex. And some of the cases involve sex with a minor.
The Division of Criminal Investigation started looking into suspicious activity when somebody thought a female in an ad on a website looked underage.
Authorities say the website Backpage.com is the common thread between the latest 18 arrests. An on-going federal investigation into sex trafficking in South Dakota tipped them off.
Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan says the investigation involves sexual activity between December of last year and this past February.
The first 16 men arrested are accused of hiring or attempting to hire a person to have sex.
That includes: Gregory Aarbo, Michael Bloomberg, Jonathan Cahoy, Robert Corsini, Justin Doescher, Kevin Dolejsi, Justin Glaser, Martin Gullickson, Troy D. Johnson, Jacob Law, David Meehan, Terry Ohlenkamp, John Planting, Jason Quinn, Timothy Schuck and David Weipert.
The men charged are from Sioux Falls, Lennox, Volga and Brandon.
For the most part, the investigation tied the men's cell phone activity and admission to using Backpage.com to connect with women for sex.
"Any commercial sex activity in this community will not be tolerated at any level and that anyone who supports this at any level will be held accountable," McGowan said.
Two of the men are arrested on felony charges for statutory rape and solicitation of a minor. Authorities believe Neal Castle and Nickolaus McCracken not only solicited, but also had sex with minor teenage girls who were being used in a 2009 sex trafficking bust in Tea.
McGowan says sex trafficking activity often times leads to other crimes and it will not be tolerated.
"Law enforcement are doing an excellent job staying on top of this. The police department, sheriff's office and federal authorities will continue to monitor this because of the aspect of abuse that is associated with these types of crimes," McGowan said.
Soliciting a person for sex in South Dakota is a class one misdemeanor and statutory rape and solicitation of a minor for sex are felony charges.
Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan says there have been more prostitution related arrests lately stemming from cell phone calls and websites with sexually themed classified ads.