Brainerd man charged with attempted solicitation of a prostitute
A 42-year-old Brainerd man is accused of soliciting a woman from Rochester with the intent of bringing her to Brainerd to work as his prostitute. Antwon Gilbert Robinson was charged Monday in Olmsted County District Court in Rochester for two fel...
A 42-year-old Brainerd man is accused of soliciting a woman from Rochester with the intent of bringing her to Brainerd to work as his prostitute.
Antwon Gilbert Robinson was charged Monday in Olmsted County District Court in Rochester for two felony counts of attempted solicitation/inducement of prostitution and attempt to promote prostitution of an individual.
Robinson faces up to 7.5 years in prison or/and a $20,000 fine for both felony charges.
Rochester Police Lt. Casey Moilanen said Robinson was arrested around 3:20 p.m. Saturday at McDonalds, 521 W.Washington St., Brainerd. Moilanen said the Rochester Police Department has been proactive in prostitution and sex trafficking crimes for the past few years. Police set up an undercover operation targeting sex trafficking and posted a false post on a social media website on Feb. 13. Robinson contacted the undercover agent and the two had several exchanges.
"He wanted her to come to Brainerd and he would serve as her pimp," Moilanen said. "He told her he would get a portion of the money. He paid for a bus pass for her to go from Rochester to Brainerd.
"When we found out when he wanted her to go to Brainerd we (Rochester police) traveled there."
The arrest occurred at a bus stop at McDonald's. When Robinson showed up he was arrested without incident and transported to Rochester, said Moilanen. Moilanen said in Robinson's communication with officers, he noted that he has solicited women before for prostitution.
Moilanen said the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and Brainerd and Baxter police departments were "very accommodating to work with. We appreciated their assistance on this case. It went smoothly because everyone worked so well together."
According to the criminal complaint filed against Robinson in Olmsted County:
• A victim from a sex trafficking case in August of 2013, told the undercover agent she had been recruited into prostitution on a specific social media website. The agent created a profile on the social media website and identified herself as an 18-year-old female.
• The agent received a couple of private messages from a user with the name of "Ben T." the name Robinson allegedly used. After a time the undercover agent and "Ben T." progressed to texts and phone calls.
• On Feb. 17, the agent received a phone call from "Ben T." who said he wanted to bring her to Brainerd and discussed how much money she could make prostituting herself. "Ben T." purchased the bus ticket for the undercover agent and said he would hide her in an upstairs room at his house.
• The agent traveled with other law enforcement officers to Brainerd on Friday. They arranged to meet with "Ben T." at the McDonald's in Brainerd at 3:20 p.m. Saturday. At 3:20 p.m., officers observed the Jefferson Lines bus arrive and the agent texted "Ben T" that she had arrived. "Ben T." A short time later, Robinson arrived at the McDonald's and was arrested.
• An investigator read Robinson his Miranda warning. Robinson told the investigator he was trying to rescue "this girl." Robinson said he was once homeless and thought the girl was homeless and he wanted to help her get a job. Robinson admitted to reading the girl's account on the social media but denied having any conversation with the agent about promoting her as a prostitute. The investigator quoted several of Robinson's statements in the text message conversations between Robinson and the agent but he continued to deny them. Robinson admitted he was going to try to hide the agent in an upstairs attic area away from his wife. He admitted he used a gift card to purchase the bus ticket.
The judge posted bail at $15,000 with conditions or $7,500 without conditions. Robinson's next court appearance will be at 9 a.m. March 19. Robinson is in custody in the Olmsted County Jail.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl .