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2 men charged in Woodbury prostitution bust

Tyree Jones (Photo courtesy Washington County sheriff’s office)1 / 2
Deno Williams (Photo courtesy Washington County sheriff’s office)2 / 2

Two men are charged with promoting prostitution at a Woodbury hotel.

Tyree Jones, 23, of Brooklyn Park and Deno Williams, 32, of Minneapolis each face two felony charges for allegedly aiding in the sex trafficking of two women. The charges, filed Monday in Washington County District Court, carry a 15-year maximum sentence.

According to the criminal complaint:

Police arrested the men Friday evening at the Extended Stay America hotel in Woodbury after following an advertisement on Backpage.com, a classifieds website frequently used for advertising adult services.

The advertisement listed a "2 girl special" and provided a phone number with a southern Minnesota area code, the complaint said.

A Woodbury officer working undercover responded to the ad and arranged to meet the women at the hotel, according to the complaint.

An unidentified woman later told law enforcement she intended to have sex with another man for $300 after police identified themselves at the building’s side entrance, the complaint said.

When led to a hotel room, police say they discovered a second woman, Jones and Williams.

The second woman, identified as S.A. in the complaint, told officers that she had never received money in return for sex. She said Williams was her boyfriend, and she had agreed to have sex for money because he was in debt, the complaint said.

Woodbury police are currently analyzing cellphones they seized at the hotel. The investigation is ongoing, the complaint said. A Washington County detective also discovered more than 250 web pages connected to the original advertisement.

A judge set Jones’ bail at $200,000, as well as conditional bail at $50,000. The conditions include no contact with the women.

Jones has a prior felony conviction in Ramsey County for prostituting an Iowa teen with Asperger's syndrome in 2012, according to court records.

This summer, an employee at the Woodbury Extended Stay America alerted law enforcement about a potential sex-trafficking group working out of the hotel, which is located south of Interstate 94 off of Woodbury Drive. The tip led to the prosecution of a Wisconsin man who later pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and labor trafficking of women from East Asia.

A hotel manager for the Extended Stay Woodbury declined to comment Tuesday on the most recent case.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office has gone after scores of mostly men accused of sex trafficking or promoting prostitution since boosting its focus on prosecuting traffickers last year.

The office has approximately 50 open sex trafficking cases that it’s currently prosecuting, said Brent Wartner, a Washington County first assistant attorney. The cases range from adults trolling online for underage girls or boys to traffickers who hire out adults and minors for sex, according to court records.

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