By WCCO-TV Staff

This article was originally published on Feb. 19

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seven people, including five from Minnesota, have been charged in a human trafficking sting operation that was executed in Itasca County this week.

The three-day sting was performed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in addition to the TRUST Task Force and the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office from Wednesday through Friday.

The suspects in the sting chatted with undercover agents and investigators on several websites advertising sex, and were arrested after agreeing to meet at arranged meeting places.

“The charges arising from the three-day operation show that there is demand to sexually exploit young people in Northern Minnesota,” said Itasca County Attorney Matti Adam. “Partnering with other agencies in a proactive law enforcement effort helps detect those who prey on our young and vulnerable populations. I am thankful that Itasca County could partner with the task force in this effort.”

In addition to the five Minnesota men from Grand Rapids, Sawyer, Goodridge and Chisolm, authorities also arrested a man from Mt. Pleasant, Texas and another from Rolla, Missouri.

All have been charged with felony solicitation of a person believed to be a minor.