Brooklyn Center man charged in sex-trafficking operation

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Brooklyn Center man was charged with sex trafficking in an operation that involved at least 35 women, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday
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Ricky Arlen Turner, 28, was charged Thursday with two counts each of sex trafficking of an individual and promoting prostitution of an individual.

“Trafficking young women into the sex trade is reprehensible,” Freeman said. “County attorneys around the state are working harder to prosecute them. In the case of Mr. Turner, we are cooperating with the Washington County Attorney, who also has brought charges against him.”

According to the criminal complaint, in January, police noticed an advertisement with a woman in lingerie advertising herself for commercial sex in backpage.com. The telephone number belonged to 25-year-old Brittany Harenza. Woodbury police executed an administrative subpoena on the publication and discovered 1,600 ads involving more than 35 women from November 2015 to May 15, 2017 and all associated with Harenza’s number.

Further investigation turned up a Facebook page on Harenza, which then led investigators to posts about Turner, which indicated he was promoting the prostitution of several women, including Harenza. Turner and Harenza were living in a home at 2815 McKenzie Point in Wayzata and police surveillance revealed they were receiving many visitors, for short time periods, especially at a detached guest house on the property, the complaint states.

Minnetonka police, in conjunction with other local departments, also found two other women who worked for Turner. One of them said Turner and Harenza approached her at a bus stop in November and told her how she could make money as a prostitute. Turner forced her to live at the Wayzata home and beat her if she tried to leave. He also took her to another state and forced her to work there, according to the complaint. She said she earned more than $100,000 in the four months she worked for Turner and was forced to turn over nearly all the money to him.

Turner is currently in the Washington County jail under similar charges.  Harenza also was charged with two felonies in Washington County including aiding and abetting racketeering.

 

Criminal Complaint (PDF)