Seven men have been charged in what is termed as a “proactive juvenile exploitation operation” that was conducted by the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force, Washington County Attorney Pete …
Seven men have been charged in what is termed as a “proactive juvenile exploitation operation” that was conducted by the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced Monday.
The EMSTTF is comprised of the Washington County Attorney’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Woodbury Department of Public Safety, Oakdale Police Department and the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations. Cottage Grove Police Department assisted law enforcement in the operation. The cases will be prosecuted by Scott Haldeman, the newly assigned prosecutor in the task force and director of the EMSTTF.
Over the last seven years, the EMSTTF has participated in dozens of undercover operations centered on decreasing the demand for commercial sex in the online market place. The amount of volume from men communicating with law enforcement surprised even the most seasoned sex trafficking detectives.
According to complaints against those arrested, “On June 2, 2021, the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force conducted a covert operation designed to combat the demand-side of persons who seek to purchase commercial sex acts from minor children.”
As part of the operation, “An undercover law enforcement officer posts a message on a widely known commercial dating website where sex acts are agreed upon. Law enforcement uses ‘decoy’ pictures depicting a known adult female who may appear to be underage,” the complaints state. An officer “replies to a chat initiation from an individual and poses as a 15-year-old female. After a sex act with a 15-year-old girl is confirmed via text message, a meeting location is set. Once the individual arrives at the predetermined location, they are arrested. A predetermined location was set at an apartment complex in Oakdale.”
Those charged include:
•Michael Joseph Fiedler, 48, of St. Paul, Electronic Communication with a Minor.
•Jason Richard Weidner, 38, North St. Paul, Underage Prostitution, 13-16.
•German Iban Galicia, 33, Minneapolis, Electronic Communication with a Minor.
•Antonio Diangelo Silva, 27, Saint Paul Park, Underage Prostitution, 13-16.
•Naveen Todd Fitterer, 33, Lakeville, Underage Prostitution, 13-16
•Joshua Emanuel Hickerson, 27, Anoka, Underage Prostitution, 13-16
•Robert Charles Engvall, 52, Elk River, Underage Prostitution, 13-16 Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry stated, “Our mission remains consistent that we continue to remain proactive in addressing sex trafficking in Minnesota. These operations are essential to decreasing the demand for commercial sex.”
Imran Ali, Assistant Criminal Division Chief stated, “The demand for juvenile exploitation still is prevalent and pervasive in our communities. The prolific level of response revived by law enforcement illustrates the need to continue to focusing proactively to eradicate sex trafficking. As many of our children are now on summer break, it is imperative that parents continue to remain vigilant in protecting their children from the dangers that exist online.”
Details of charges are as follows: Michael Joseph Fiedler – Fiedler allegedly texted thinking a woman was setting him up for sexual context with her 15-year-old niece. Fiedler allegedly messaged “he felt like a dirty old man and was nervous the 15-year-old niece wouldn’t like him.”
Fiedler reportedly was given the address and told to bring a case of White Claws alcoholic beverages. Fiedler allegedly texted “Daddies home” when he arrived at the apartment complex, where he was arrested with two cases of White Claws.
Jason Richard Weidner – Weidner allegedly replied to an advertisement “in the online commercial sex marketplace, which are websites that are known to law enforcement where people engage in commercial sex trafficking and prostitution,” the complaint states.
Weidner allegedly agreed pay $200 for an hour of sex with what he believed was a 15-year-old female. Weidner arrived at the apartment with $200.
German Iban Galicia – Garcia responded to a post on the social dating website “MeetMe” that was put up by a Homeland Security investigator. The investigator messaged Galicia that she was not 18 and that she would be 16 in September. See TRAFFICKING Page 5 Trafficking From Page 1
Galicia allegedly texted, “OK, let’s go.”
Galicia was taken into custody after he stood next to the security buzzer for an extended period and turned to leave the building.
Antonio Diangelo Silva – Silva allegedly thought he was texting a girl who was “almost 16:. He reportedly agreed to pay $150, and he also was arrested with cash and a 12pack of White Claw.
Naveen Todd Fitterer – Fitterer allegedly asked the person on text if she would take PayPal. She said she was only 15 and didn’t have a bank account. He agreed to pay $200 for an hour. He was arrested at the apartment.
Joshua Emanuel Hickerson – Hickerson also allegedly agreed to pay $200 to have sex with the 15-year-old girl. He had $250 in his possession upon arrest.
Robert Charles Engvall -Engvall told the investigator texting that he prefers younger girls. When told the girls was almost 16, he texted, “Your just joking and are really 18 (wonky face emoji) I’ll see you soon.”
He was arrested in possession of $251.
The seven were all booked into the Washington County Jail.