Since shortly after a sex-with-minors sting at Red Roof Inn yielded charges against more than a dozen johns, a local coalition of county attorney's offices, public safety agencies, and social service organizations have been publicly successful in clamping down on the demand for prostitution.
This month, Woodbury Public Safety began to cut off the supply-providing a sting operation necessary for the Washington County Attorney's Office to charge its first alleged pimp in Woodbury.
Freddie Lockett Jr., 41, of St. Paul is due in Washington County District Court on Wednesday to face felony charges with promoting prostitution. He originally appeared in court Jan. 4, and is being held on bail of $60,000 with conditions, $120,000 without conditions.
According to the complaint:
An undercover officer responded to a Backpage.com ad offering sex for money in the area.
"It's still party time in Woodberey ..." the Jan. 3 ad said. "Here to bring a little hot spicy fun to your new year. ... Your satisfaction is my #1 priority."
The officer sent a text message to a phone number in the ad, and learned that prostitutes were doing "in" or "out" calls, including car dates and visits to a hotel room at Key Inn in Woodbury.
In making arrangements to meet, sex acts were offered at a rate of $80 for 15 minutes, $110 for 30 minutes, and sex without a condom for an additional $30.
As is common practice in the sex trafficking industry, the customer was not told the prostitute's room number.
But authorities went to Key Inn, found Lockett had a warrant out for his arrest and knocked on his door.
Officers immediately recognized the woman who answered the door as the one pictured in the online ad. She slammed the door in the officers' faces.
The police announced themselves and eventually she opened the door. Inside the room, officers found Lockett lying on the floor on his stomach and he was arrested.
Officers found three cellphones, one of which displayed the arrangements with the undercover officer for a 3:30 p.m. meet-up.
Lockett was the victim's bodyguard, he did all of the communicating for her, and he would decide with whom she would have "dates," the victim said.
She exchanged sex for money, in order to pay for food and shelter, the victim told police.
The victim paid Lockett a portion of her proceeds, including for hotel room rental.