MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The prosecution of a large sex trafficking ring concluded Thursday with the fifth and final defendant pleading guilty and subsequently sentenced, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
The attorney’s office says Suwuan Cross pleaded guilty to tracking two minors and one adult. She then received a prison sentence of 111 months, which is over 9 years.
The plea and sentence brings to an end the prosecution of a sex trafficking ring that victimized over 100 young women across 14 states, the attorney’s office said.
“The successful prosecution of this trafficking ring draws an important line in the sand that we will not tolerate this behavior in our community. Although this provides a measure of justice for victims and serious consequences for their traffickers, we must also recognize that it is not enough, as the demand still persists,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said. “Traffickers and buyers are driving this activity and we need to focus on them – by holding them accountable, but also by continuing our community dialogue around prevention. We must work together, as a community, to raise our boys into respectful men who understand that women and girls are not objects to be bought or sold for men’s sexual gratification.”
St. Paul Police rescued a 17-year-old victim last September at a home on the 900 block of Cook Street. The girl was listed on Backpage.com as “Ms. Juicy,” and an undercover officer set up a date via text messages.
All five defendants were at the home or nearby when officers arrived, and all denied any knowledge of the sex trafficking operation.
Officers arrived the next day with a search warrant, and several cell phones and Vanilla Visa gift cards — commonly used in the sex trafficking trade because of their difficulty to trace — were found at the home.
Several of the cards were found to have been used to purchase ads on Backpage.com for sex trafficking in several states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia and Kentucky.
All five defendants were convicted as co-conspirators and received sentences netting nearly 50 years of combined prison time.