2 arrested in second Baxter prostitution sting
BAXTER - A second prostitution sting in Baxter netted two more johns Tuesday. The Baxter Police Department arrested 22-year-old Tyler Clark Meech shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday after he knocked on the door of a hotel room where he believed a sex wo...
BAXTER - A second prostitution sting in Baxter netted two more johns Tuesday.
The Baxter Police Department arrested 22-year-old Tyler Clark Meech shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday after he knocked on the door of a hotel room where he believed a sex worker was waiting. Meech, who has no known permanent address, was transported to the Crow Wing County Jail where he was held until appearing in court Thursday. He was formally charged with agreeing to hire a prostitute in a public place, a gross misdemeanor offense.
A second person, a 48-year-old Baxter man, was released at the scene at the officers' discretion and informed he would be summoned to court to face criminal charges.
According to the criminal complaint against Meech, officers created and placed an advertisement on Backpage.com, a classified advertising website the National Center on Sexual Exploitation says generates nearly 80 percent of all online prostitution advertising revenue. The post, placed under the "Escort" section, advertised the services of a fictional 22-year-old woman named Chelsie. The ad provided fictional photos and a phone number.
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, an undercover officer posing as Chelsie received a text message from a person later identified as the suspect Meech stating he would "like to have fun."
Meech asked for an hour of time and agreed to a price for "full service." Meech sent another message to the undercover officer stating he'd "done this once or twice" and it was "(his) release."
Meech agreed to bring "cover" (slang for condoms) and told Chelsie he would arrive at 6 p.m. After he arrived and knocked on the door of the provided hotel room, officers arrested Meech. A search revealed he was carrying $200 cash and two condoms. Meech's cellphone was located in clear view in the vehicle he drove to the hotel.
Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan said he expects formal charges against the second individual early next week.
The sting performed Tuesday is the second one conducted by area law enforcement in a month. The first sting, which occurred May 20, resulted in gross misdemeanor charges against seven johns and pending charges against an eighth, including former Aitkin Police Chief Scott Leslie Smith and Attorney Richard Albert Ohlsen of Brainerd.
Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted previously told the Brainerd Dispatch area law enforcement are stepping up enforcement of prostitution in the Brainerd lakes area in hopes of ending sex trafficking they have reason to believe is occurring locally.