Prosecutors in Williams County filed human trafficking charges Monday against Charles David Norton, 44, and Rasheed Abdul Rahim, 42, who were arrested last week after they allegedly transported women who had placed online prostitution. Williston police, one of the several agencies involved with the operation, said the goal of the sting conducted Thursday and Friday was to identify possible victims of human trafficking, arrest traffickers and deter the demand for commercial sex. The total of trafficking victims identified was unclear Monday because the investigation is still ongoing, said Williston Police Lt.
Detective David Peterson.
FBI victim coordinators participated in the operation and were put in contact with the victims. No underage victims were identified, Peterson said. According to court records and a press release from the Williston Police Department: Several law enforcement agencies conducted a t sting that involved responding to escort placed on Back. One woman who arranged to meet with the undercover agents arrived at a hotel in a maroon Dodge van, which then parked in the back of the parking lot with its lights off and engine running.
The woman told police that a man in the van, later identified as Norton, takes money from her prostitution jobs and pays her with food or drugs. Police encountered another woman in the van with Norton who said she had engaged in prostitution in Williston two days earlier, court records say.
Norton told Northwest Judicial District Judge David Nelson he has stayed out of trouble since except for a disorderly conduct conviction in Mountrail County last year. Norton said he drives trucks and has lived in Arnegard for a year, where his son is enrolled in school. A woman who had an ad on Back was dropped off by a man later identified as Rahim.
The woman told police Rahim transports her to prostitution jobs, court records say. He also faces a charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class C felony.
Rahim told Judge Nelson the vehicle involved in the human trafficking allegation was registered to the woman and she was providing him a ride. Rahim said he has worked as a pipeliner for four years and has two kids and a girlfriend he supports. Neither man appeared with an attorney Monday.
Their next court appearances are April For five hours during the operation, the officers targeted johns who were seeking to buy sex and made eight arrests. These men were arrested on suspicion of solicitation of prostitution, according to Williston police. They had not been charged as of Monday:.
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