The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says six people, including two Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline workers, have been arrested in relation to a human trafficking operation that took place last month in Beltrami County.
Investigators with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)-led Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force led the operation in partnership with the Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking (TRUST) Task Force, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and the Bemidji Police Department. The operation was conducted from June 25 to 26.
During the operation, suspects responded to an ad on a sex advertisement website. Investigators arrested the suspects as they arrived at an arranged meeting place for a commercial sex crime.
Enrbidge confirmed on June 28 that two of its employees were involved in the arrest.
'On Saturday, June 26, 2021, two individuals working for a subcontractor on the Line 3 Replacement Project were arrested in a sex trafficking sting in Bemidji. Upon learning of their arrests, the employment of these two individuals was immediately terminated,' the company said in a statement, in part.
More than a dozen other law enforcement agencies and other organizations also assisted in the effort.
'This operation was part of our ongoing, collective commitment to rid our communities of sexual exploitation.' BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. 'It is never OK to purchase another person for sex.'