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Charges: Twin Cities man helped run sex trafficking ring while behind bars

Cellphone data from a task force investigation led back to the man in jail.

A Twin Cities man, while behind bars for completely separate charges, was helping to orchestrate a sex trafficking effort at a hotel.

That's according to the Washington County Attorney's Office, which on Thursday charged Daniel David Ellington, 38, with four counts connected to the investigation.

The charges say authorities discovered the effort through an investigation by the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force. The task force was looking into a commercial sex trafficking operation that was happening at a Woodbury hotel. The task force busted the effort and rescued the victim, then began examining cellphone data.

It was then that they discovered a link to Ellington, who at the time was incarcerated at the Kanabec County Jail on unrelated charges.

According to the attorney's office, Ellington "advised, organized, promoted and profited from the prostitution" of the victim in the Woodbury bust.

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The investigation also turned up "several" additional instances of Ellington's involvement in sex trafficking, according to the charges. Investigations into further cases are pending.

Ellington, who is from Brooklyn Park, now faces two counts of sex trafficking and two counts of promotion of prostitution.

The Minnesota Attorney General's website says offenders can face up to 15 years in prison for trafficking an adult, and up to 20 years for trafficking a child.

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