Two of five St. Paul-area residents accused of selling girls as young as 16 years old for sex have pleaded guilty to the charges against them.
Under a plea deal, 25-year-old Thomas William Evans and 38-year-old Doris Marie Keller agreed to testify truthfully against the three remaining defendants "if needed," according to a release from the Ramsey County Attorney.
The other people charged are Jamaine Williams, Suwan Dominique Cross and Yolanda Katrice Foster.
Prosecutors say the group ran a sex trafficking ring that moved girls and young women across 14 states.
Evans and Keller will likely serve 20 years and six and a half years in prison, respectively.
County Attorney Join Choi says Evans acknowledged trafficking more than 100 girls, "causing immense harm to the victims and our community as a whole."
St. Paul Police began their takedown of the prostitution ring last Fall, when an undercover officer posed as a "john" who wanted to pay for sex with a 17-year-old girl advertised on Backpage.com.
The subsequent investigation (which also included the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) turned up horrific accounts of the young victims involved, including a girl lured from Texas with promises of "a better life" and a car, the release says.
The victim, identified as "D.V.W.," was apparently forced to walk the street in search of johns in between sex-for-money calls set up by her captors.
Prosecutors say Evans kept her and other victims in line through "verbal intimidation," feeding them drugs and hitting them on the legs.
The criminal complaint against him says he went by the nickname "A-1" and required the girls to call him "daddy."
Evans is charged with five counts of engaging in sex trafficking, and two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.
Both will be sentenced in August.