Minneapolis man charged with three counts of sex-trafficking


A Minneapolis man is expected to make his first court appearance this afternoon on three counts of sex-trafficking, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.

Lee Edward Smith, Jr., 21, was charged Wednesday and prosecutors will be seeking bail of $250,000.

According to the criminal complaint, a Minneapolis police investigator early this month learned of a woman being advertised for sex on Backpage.com. The investigator called the advertised number and was told to go to 3627 Nicollet Ave. S. The investigator set up in a place where he could watch the building and contacted the phone number. He then saw a woman come out of nearby 3635 Nicollet and when she didn’t see anyone, texted the investigator and admitted she was the woman he was seeking.

On Monday, the investigator saw another ad using the same phone number. As they were setting up surveillance, they saw a john come out of the apartment building and they interviewed him. He admitted he had gone there for sex for hire, the complaint states.

With that information, police searched the apartment and found Smith, who was arrested. Three women were also in the apartment and they acknowledged that Smith or his girlfriend set up the ads and arranged the sexual encounters and that they turned the money they made over to him, according to the complaint.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)