One "pimp" and four "johns" are facing charges after the Minneapolis Police Department and theDepartment of Homeland Security broke up an underage sex trafficking ring.
Sgt. Grant Snyder, with Minneapolis police, told FOX 9 News the case was tipped off by two 16- and 17-year-old girls who ran away from a treatment facility a couple of months ago. Those girls led investigators to an illegal rental space at East 46th Street and 3rd Avenue South in south Minneapolis. That location is just blocks from one victim's home.
"This place had been turned into an illegal rental facility where -- literally --everywhere you could put a body was rented out," said Snyder "Among the places that both victims identified was a closet that had a lock on the inside, and once the young girls went in with the suspect, he would lock the door behind ... and there was a list of rules on the wall."
The list of rules read exactly as follows:
"The victims talked in this case about remembering quite vividly the experience of being in that closet, of reading those rules, the face of the suspect. It imprinted how this tragedy unfolded for them psychologically," said Snyder.
Bernard Morris is described by police as the ring leader. He lived in the home, and investigators believe he has been pimping out teenage girls for years.
"For Mr. Morris, this was a chance to have cheap -- often free -- sex in exchange for allowing these young women to use his house, as well as bringing customers, if you are going to call them that, over to his house," said Snyder.
After his arrest last month, Morris helped lead investigators to some of the people they call his frequent customers. Victims reported having sex with 62-year-old Santos Nunez. Snyder claims Nunez is the one who hung the sign inside the sex closet.
With police waiting to stop them in late October, Morris arranged for 46-year-old Phone Le and 50-year-old Kham Lu to have sex with the girls. Plus, Thanh Boi made a special request.
"During that phone call, Morris said he had a young woman -- said she was 15-16 years old and she was willing to have sex with Mr. Boi for $100 without the use of a condom," Snyder said.
Currently, Nunez is the only suspect from the group still in the Hennepin County Jail. FOX 9 went to each of the other suspects' homes, located in Eagan, Shakopee and Minneapolis. We were greeted by unsuspecting neighbors and children, but Le was the only suspect to come to the door long enough to say, "No comment."
"This is a group of men getting together with the sole purpose of abusing our children," said Snyder.