MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul man has been charged with two counts relating to sex trafficking at hotels in Woodbury and Oakdale. He was previously convicted of soliciting prostitution in Dakota County in 2010.
Calvin Caldwell Jr., 32, was charged in Washington County with one count of sex trafficking and one count of promoting prostitution.
According to the complaint, the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force (EMSTTF) found a commercial sex ad posted online in Woodbury on Nov. 12. The ad depicted a woman soliciting sexual services. The phone number tied to the ad was connected to 400 ads nationwide, including cities in Minnesota.
Oakdale Police Detective Ryan Stuart initiated an undercover text message conversation with the phone number in the ad and was given the location of a hotel in Woodbury.
The next day, Woodbury Police Detective Paul Kroshus heard a complaint that a female sex worker was in a hotel in Woodbury. She had been assaulted “by her pimp” and gone to an area hospital for her injuries. The complaint said her pimp goes by the names “Junior,” “Buddha,” or “Little Buddha.” The hotel name she gave was the same one connected to the ad Stuart had discovered a day earlier.
She said the assault happened on Nov. 12 before Caldwell had been arrested for driving while intoxicated. She was a passenger in the car and had visible injuries. When asked, she said there had been a physical assault earlier at Treasure Island Casino. However she refused to cooperate with an assault investigation. Kroshus learned she was the same woman in the online ad.
Kroshus then contacted the Woodbury hotel and confirmed Caldwell and the woman had rented a room. Hotel management added that they had received a complaint about a loud fight coming from the room.
On Nov. 14, Kroshus saw another commercial sex ad of the woman on a known commercial sex website. He then initiated an undercover text message with the same phone number Stuart had contacted two days before. Though he was given the location of the Woodbury hotel, he was asked if they could change the location because the hotel staff in Woodbury would ask guests for identification. Kroshus then suggested an apartment in Oakdale, Washington County.
They agreed to meet at 11:30 that morning. When the time came, members from the EMSTTF conducted surveillance at the hotel and saw Caldwell drive the woman to the location in Oakdale.
Caldwell allegedly dropped her off at the apartment building. Afterwards, police initiated a traffic stop and arrested him. He claimed to be there to pick up marijuana and denied being involved with prostitution.
When interviewed, the woman admitted she was a commercial sex worker and claimed she was in a romantic relationship with Caldwell. She confirmed he knew of the prostitution but did not force her to do it. She was later released.
Members of the EMSTTF found social media pages belonging to Caldwell and the woman. Caldwell’s posts are associated with active gang involvement in St. Paul. He also posted sex ads of the woman while traveling in California, Illinois, and Nevada this year. It’s believed the woman was trafficked in several states by Caldwell.
Caldwell has several felony convictions, including a prior qualified human trafficking offense. In 2010, he was arrested in a hotel in Dakota County. According to the complaint, officials found two women inside a hotel room. When interviewed, one of the women said Caldwell took pictures of her, posted them online, and rented the hotel room since she was under 21.
Because of his criminal history, high bail has been requested for Caldwell. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 15 years and $30,000 for each charge.