MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Officials in the Twin Cities say a man was found guilty of several sex trafficking charges in connection to a prostitution ring that brought women from China to work in the south metro.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says a judge found 37-year-old Sonam Tsering, of Plymouth, guilty of one count of promotion of prostitution, one count of receiving profits from prostitution, and two counts of sex trafficking. He is slated to be sentenced on Aug. 14.READ MORE: What To Do When Severe Weather Strikes While Boating
“This was a highly organized, illegal operation that stretched from coast-to-coast in the United States,” County Attorney Mike Freeman said, in a statement. “We are pleased with the jury verdict. The women, who are victims, were preyed upon by Mr. Tsering and others, and we did everything in our power to disrupt this sex-trafficking operation in Hennepin County.”
According to a criminal complaint, investigators came upon the sex trafficking ring involving Asian women in 2016 through ads on Backpage.com. When undercover officers responded to one of the ads, they were led to an Edina apartment, where they encountered by a woman in lingerie who only spoke Chinese.READ MORE: Feds Investigating Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked To Organic Strawberries; Cases Reported In Minnesota
Through an interpreter, she told authorities she was brought to the U.S. from China to work as a prostitute.
Months later, officers responded to another Backpage.com ad and found another woman engaged in prostitution at an apartment in Richfield. She told officers that she lived with Tsering and gave him the money she earned.
The attorney’s office says that since a jury found Tsering’s crimes had several victims, prosecutors will be allowed to ask the sentencing judge for a sentence that exceeds state guidelines.MORE NEWS: Witt Jr. Hits 3 Doubles, Ups Extra-Base Count, KC Tops Twins, 7-3
Another man charged in the case, Zhaxi Taxing, pleaded guilty in January to sex trafficking. He will be sentenced on Aug. 6.