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10 arrested in latest prostitution sweep in Rochester

Ten men have been charged with soliciting prostitutes in a January sting operation in Rochester, alittle more than a year after 17 men were arrested in a similar sting.

The men were arrested Jan. 16 and charged Feb. 22 with one count each of gross misdemeanor hiring, offering to hire or agreeing to hire a prostitute in a public place.

In each case, the Rochester Police Department's street crimes unit, with the assistance of the St. Paul Police Department vice unit, posted online ads under different names. Suspects then unknowingly contacted an undercover officer to arrange for a meeting at a hotel.

One man charged, Robert Jack Norris, 56, is from Warrenville, Ill., but the rest are from southeastern Minnesota.

Six of the men charged are from Rochester: Peter Nyaberi Anyona, 31; Timothy Allen Turri, 54; Cheng-Chieh Cheng, 45; Abdulkadir Abdi Hussein, 33; Charles Ellison Williams, 35; and Kevin Wayne Smith, 43.


Other men charged include Levi Daniel Floren, 38, of Pine Island; Earl Arthur Guse, 68, of Waseca; and Kyle Hiroshi Spandau, 25, of Oronoco.

The 10 men will all make their first appearance the week of April 1 in Olmsted County District Court, according to court documents.

Police said in December 2011 they intended to crack down on prostitution in the city; more than 50 arrests were made in Rochester between December 2010 and March 2012 — and more since — in the biggest law-enforcement response to prostitution in decades. Authorities say the effort has shown that Rochester is a lucrative market for prostitution.

"These investigations require some concentrated efforts and dedicated resources," said Capt. Brian Winters, "so we select random times where staffing allows for it and do it."

The department reacts to such crime as it occurs and responds accordingly, he said, "and we'll respond to calls from the public or concerns from our partners in lodging establishments, but as far as proactive enforcement efforts, we look for the time when our resources allow.

"That's what you can expect, and that's our philosophy moving forward," Winters said.

The prostitution business, he added, isn't unique to this community.

"Rochester is a hub city in Minnesota, just like Minneapolis, just like St. Cloud, just like Duluth," Winters said. "It's happening in many communities throughout the state. What you're seeing is, unfortunately, no lack of customer base."

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