4 trafficking victims recovered, 11 people arrested following undercover operation

Four female trafficking victims were recovered following an undercover operation Thursday and Friday in St. Paul, according to a news release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

11 people were also arrested and are facing felony charges. 10 people were arrested on probable cause felony solicitation of a minor under 18 years of age for prostitution and one person was arrested on probable cause felony promotion of prostitution. All 11 were booked into Ramsey County Jail.

Charges are expected in the coming days for the following people:

  • Leonard David Caston, Jr., 30, of Mondovi, Wisconsin
  • Malvin Chirongoma, 25, of Inver Grove Heights
  • Yonis Abdiweli Hashi, 22, of Eden Prairie
  • Rodrigue Lauture, 42, of Minneapolis
  • Geber Danian Lopez Mejia, 34, of Blaine
  • Jose Jacinto Guaman Quizhpi, 29, of Minneapolis
  • Brandon Emmanuel Rivera Ruiz, 22, of Richfield
  • Abdul Jameer Shaik, 33, of Chanhassen
  • Thomas Charles Stephenson, 23, of St. Michael
  • Robert Jeremy Yang, 41, of St. Paul
  • Toula-Joe Yang, 35, of St. Paul

Investigators with the BCA-led Human Trafficking Task Force and St. Paul Police Department conducted an undercover operation this week in which agents and investigators posed as minors and sex buyers. Law enforcement arrested the suspects when they arrived to an arranged meeting place, the BCA said.

The East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force, Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking and Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office all contributed to the operation. Breaking Free, a victim advocate organization, also provided resources during victim recovery, the BCA said.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of being sex trafficked, call 911. You can report a suspected sex trafficking situation to the BCA at 877-996-6222 or bca.tips@state.mn.us.

The Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force provides a statewide response for the Human Trafficking National Hotline, which can be reached by calling 888-373-7888 or by texting “HELP” to 233733.