A Goodridge man has been charged in Itasca County District Court after a human trafficking sting operation there.
Bruce Duane Jones, 54, has been charged with felony communication of sexually explicit materials to children. He was arrested in Pennington County.
Jones was one of seven people charged after the investigation. The other six people were from outside of Pennington County. Most were charged with felony solicitation of a person believed to be a minor.
One was charged with solicitation to engage in prostitution. Investigators with the Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force led the three-day operation in partnership with the TRUST Task Force and the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office.
The undercover operation ran from Feb. 17-19 and targeted “adults engaging in online solicitation of underage girls for commercial sex,” according to the complaint against Jones.
Jones allegedly responded to a Craigslist ad from a “young female,” who was seeking a male of any age. It stated she was open to all possibilities. The ad noted she was located in the Grand Rapids area.
At some point, he allegedly identified himself and said he was from Goodridge. Jones allegedly texted the “15-year-old girl” on Thursday, Feb. 18. He texted he was 18 years old. Jones asked if her parents knew what she was doing and what would happen if she became pregnant.
The complaint alleges that Jones repeatedly asked “the girl” for pictures. He sent her a full-body, nude selfie.
The task force officer used a photo depicting a young scantily-clad female, which was an undercover female agent. Jones continued to ask for photos of the girl without clothing. He said he would see her the following week.
The complaint alleged that the phone number belonged to Jones. A driver’s license photo matched the selfie that had been sent to the undercover agent.