Sex Trafficking Task Force arrests at least three men in Super Bowl sting
A weeklong investigation targeting patrons of child sex trafficking led to at least three arrests in Woodbury the week of Super Bowl.
Authorities with the multi-agency East Metro Sex Trafficking task force during the undercover investigation posted advertisements to cragislist.com and backpage.com alluding to paid sexual acts with children younger than 16.
The men who responded to the posts were instructed to come to an apartment in Woodbury, where they were arrested upon arrival.
Andrew Henry Burfeind, 54 of St. Paul, Dwayne Gordan Johnson, 53 of Cokato, Mitchell Harold King, 40 of Fargo, North Dakota all face felony charges of soliciting prostitution from someone age 13 to 16.
In each of the cases, text and email conversations between the men and undercover officers discussed prices, meeting locations and the age of juveniles they thought they were meeting for sex acts.
The operation concluded Monday, Feb. 5.
Sergeant Marc Lombardi, who heads the task force with the Washington County Sheriff's office, said more information about additional arrests will be available pending the County Attorney's charging decisions.
According to the criminal complaints filed in Washington County:
Officers arrested Johnson Jan. 27 at a Woodbury apartment where Johnson planned to pay for sex acts with a 13-year-old boy.
Johnson responded to a craisglist.com advertisement undercover officers posted depicting a father offering his son for sex acts with men.
Johnson, officers learned, was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2014 and must register as a predatory offender.
In his messages to the officer, Johnson inquired about a price and the "boy's" age.
He later confirmed the price and age before asking the officer if he planned to "join in," stating he'd like the father to "either join us or leave me alone with him."
The undercover officer instructed Johnson to arrive at a Woodbury apartment with candy, soda and condoms. Johnson declined the last item.
Officers arrested Johnson at the apartment the next afternoon and found a soda, chocolate bar and bottle of lubricant on his person.
Authorities arrested Burfeind about an hour later.
Burfeind responded to a Backpage.com post by an officer posing as a 15-year-old Jan. 27, asking to "promise me u aren't a cop."
Burfeind agreed to pay $50 for a sex act via text message.
Officers arrested Burfeind at the Woodbury apartment where they arranged to meet later than day.
Burfeind had $50 cash on his person and told police he knew he agreed to meet a 15-year-old boy.
He told officers he knew it was wrong and he had done this before.
Officers also arrested King at the apartment that afternoon.
King responded a Backpage.com post that included "suggestive looking" photos of a female and a link to a social media account containing the phrase "sexworld."
The officer asked King via text message if he was with law enforcement "cause im 15."
King replied that he was okay with her age and agreed to pay $150 for sex acts.
King attempted to flee when officers tried to arrest him upon his arrival at the Woodbury apartment.
Officers apprehended King and found condoms and $150 cash on him. King told officers he agreed to pay for sex acts with someone he understood to be a 15-year-old girl.