Minnesota political operative charged in child sex trafficking conspiracy

Anton Lazzaro recently worked on the 2020 campaign for Republican candidate Lacy Johnson in Minneapolis.

A Minneapolis man who worked as campaign manager for a Minnesota congressional candidate in 2020 has been indicted on federal sex trafficking charges.

Anton "Tony" Lazzaro, 30, is accused of recruiting six children to engage in sex acts for money between May and December 2020.

He was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday and made his first court appearance later. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, five counts of sex trafficking of minors, one count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of obstruction.

What's more, the U.S. Attorney's Office of Minnesota says that authorities believe "there may be additional victims of the alleged conduct," and allege that Lazzaro "knowingly and intentionally interfered" with the investigation as the net closed in.

The indictment also mentions a second person is under investigation as a co-conspirator, but they have yet to be arrested.

Among the properties seized by authorities and now subject to forfeiture are Lazzaro's condo, a 2010 Ferrari convertible that has featured in several of his Instagram posts, more than $370,000 in currency, and numerous computers, tablets, thumb drives, and cellphones.

Follow Bring Me The News on Facebook

The Daily Beast reports that the FBI raided Lazzaro's "luxury condo" at the Hotel Ivy building in downtown Minneapolis this past December.

Lazzaro, who lives in Minneapolis, is the CEO of the global consulting firm Gold River Group. In 2018 he founded the Big Tent Republicans PAC, with the stated goal of broadening the Republican voting base by being more inclusive of women and minorities.

On his website, Lazzaro touts appearances on the conservative platforms Fox News and Newsmax TV, as well as the Russian-owned RT America channel. He also posted photos of himself with former president Donald Trump, former vice president Mike Pence, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

Lazzaro identified himself in 2020 as the campaign manager for 5th District Republican candidate Lacy Johnson, a title that was mentioned in multiple articles over the course of and in the wake of the election campaign.

Following the arrest, Johnson has denied that Lazzaro was his campaign manager, instead saying he worked in an advisory role during the early part of his campaign.

A statement from Johnson's lawyer states:  "Lacy never agreed to Mr. Lazzaro taking the title of campaign manager and never formalized Tony in that role. When articles referred to Tony as campaign manager, what happened was Mr. Lazzaro would take calls from media, make up a title or confirm he was the campaign manager, and provide quotes and information without ever alerting Lacy. Any article where Mr. Lazzaro referred to himself as Campaign Manager or any other official role with the campaign was a claim he made without any confirmation or permission from Lacy."

When initially contacted by the Daily Beast, Johnson said Lazzaro had never told him about the raid or the investigation, adding: "I don’t know that side of Tony. He’s young, he’s got money, and … that tends to attract females."

More than $12 million was spent by the Johnson campaign in 2020, according to campaign filing reports, which is more than twice the amount spent by his opponent, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Johnson's campaign attracted big donations from conservatives as he was going up against Omar, one of the Republican Party's most popular political attack targets.

Next Up

London Michael Bean go fund me

Teen charged with fatal shooting of 12-year-old London Bean

A warrant has been issued for the 18-year-old's arrest.

Minnesota Wild

Wild announce national TV broadcast schedule

The Wild will have 13 games nationally televised this season

suni lee

St. Paul's Suni Lee named to Time's list of 100 Most Influential People

Lee won three medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including an all-around gold.

Dunn County WI homicide suspect

1 arrested in quadruple killing, with 'armed and dangerous' suspect at large

The four victims were found in an abandoned SUV in rural Wisconsin.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Rape, incest suspect from Indiana is caught in St. Cloud

The 40-year-old was found in an apartment building.

Rep Tim Miller mn leg

MN rep calls upholding of TX abortion law 'great news for America'

Rep. Tim Miller also outlined a new abortion-related bill he plans to introduce.

Mike Elhard

Eden Prairie man found dead was training for the Chicago Marathon

The 39-year-old leaves behind a wife and two children.

minneapolis police

Reuters report claims MPD has engaged in 'pullback' since George Floyd's murder

The report has put the department in the spotlight once again.

Foreman tl - Flug-Presley tr - Sturm bl - Pettus br - Go Fund Me and Facebook

Mystery surrounds discovery of 4 MN friends found dead in SUV

Here's what is known about the case so far — and what questions remains.

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 9.21.25 AM

Mpls. school moves to virtual learning due to homeless encampment on grounds

The Volunteers of America School says some students will work remotely, while others work at alternative sites.

storm, severe weather

Severe weather Thursday: Here's what the NWS is saying

If storms can get going during daylight hours, they might be nasty.


Anton Lazzaro and Gisela Medina.

St. Thomas College Republicans chair, 19, arrested in child sex conspiracy probe

She was arrested in Florida in connection to the case that saw Anton Lazzaro indicted on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2021-08-13 at 6.42.24 AM

Gold, private jets and Ferraris: Arrested GOP strategist's high-flying lifestyle

Some Minnesota Republicans have started distancing themselves from Anton Lazzaro, pledging to return donations from him.

Anton Lazzaro and Gisela Medina.

19-year-old charged as co-defendant in Lazzaro child sex trafficking case

The indictment against Gisela Medina and GOP strategist Anton Lazzaro was unsealed Monday.

Paul Gazelka

Gazelka won't be drawn on Carnahan calls in wake of strategist's trafficking arrest

Meanwhile, Carnahan has challenged the GOP executive board to call a confidence vote.

Daniel Peggs

Wisconsin superintendent charged with sex trafficking, producing child porn

The 32-year-old was arrested on his way to work Thursday.

court room

Pair plead guilty to sex trafficking of child at Bloomington hotel

A 26-year-old woman provided a child 'for commercial sex' with a 50-year-old man.

Murphy, Johnson get the nods on a wild day in Minnesota politics

Party delegates selected their preferred candidates on Saturday.

Jennifer Carnahan

Jennifer Carnahan speaks out, says she's victim of 'coup' within the GOP

She says that she's victim of "smears" after one of her close confidants, Anton Lazzaro, was indicted for child sex trafficking.