9 jailed, including 8 in Cass County, as part of underage sex sting
FARGO -- Eight people were being held in the Cass County Jail on Friday morning, March 10, on suspicion of patronizing a minor for commercial sex, their arrests the result of a law enforcement sting operation.
Fargo police confirmed in a posting on the police department's Facebook page Friday that the arrests were part of a follow-up to last summer's undercover operation called “Guardian Angel,” which resulted in the arrest of 18 men.
In the latest sting, eight individuals were booked into the Cass County Jail Thursday on suspicion of patronizing a minor for commercial sex. Those arrested included: Dramane J. Berte, 21; Aaron C. Davidson, 41; Dan K. Durr, 42; Grant W. Goodsell, 26; David M. Jablonsky, 42; Veran A. Kapaun, 50; Merennage R. Salgado, 32; and Jimmy B. Tenwah, 29.
Durr is the CEO and president of Fargo-based Don’s Car Washes, which operates two Fargo car washes. Davidson is a general manager and partner in The Apartment Movers, a local moving company. Jablonsky, of Bismarck, is a major in the North Dakota Army National Guard. A full-time guardsman, he's the operations officer for the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Guard spokesman Bill Prokopyk said."He's been reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the civilian legal system," Prokopyk said.
The booking times at the Cass County Jail Thursday ranged from about 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
According to Fargo police, one person was arrested in Grand Forks this week in connection with the undercover operation. Grand Forks law enforcement identified the Grand Forks suspect as Robert J. Griggs, 47.
Last summer’s “Guardian Angel” sting in the Fargo-Moorhead area targeted men accused of going to area hotels looking to hire minors for sex. Area law enforcement officials placed ads on websites and mobile apps through which contact with suspects was made. The apps included Grindr and Whisper, and the websites included Craigslist.com and Backpage.com.
Of the 18 people arrested last summer, a number of cases have yet to be resolved while others have ended with guilty pleas or guilty verdicts at trial.
For those convicted, most sentences have fallen into a range of three to eight months in jail, with the longest sentence imposed so far being 1½ years.
Fargo police said in the Facebook posting Friday that the new arrests coincided with human trafficking training the police department was able to participate in this week.
"Protecting the children in our communities is one of the highest priorities within the Fargo Police Department. We will continue to target those individuals who attempt to engage in sexual activities with children," police said in the Facebook posting.
The posting also said the human trafficking training and latest sting were the result of collaboration between many agencies, including: the North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force; the Minneapolis Police Department; the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations; the Department of Homeland Security; the Grand Forks Police Department; the West Fargo Police Department; the Wahpeton Police Department; the Jamestown Police Department; the Stutsman County Sheriff's Office; the East Grand Forks Police Department; the Moorhead Police Department; and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.