- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - 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 (https://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.

The complaints list six victims in the ring - girls and women who, in 2014, were between the ages of 16 and 24.

Evans allegedly made the victims call him “Daddy,” while Cross went by the nickname “Mama Sue.” Many of the victims called Keller “Mom.”

The charges 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.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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