DULUTH — Authorities arrested seven people during a three-day human trafficking operation in Itasca County that concluded Friday, Feb. 19.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension led the operation in partnership with the Itasca County Sheriff's Office and the Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking Task Force, according to a news release from the Itasca County Attorney's Office.

Undercover agents and investigators spoke with suspects on several sex advertisement websites during the operation. Investigators then arrested the suspects as they arrived at arranged meeting places. All seven have been booked in the Itasca County and Pennington County jails.

“The charges arising from the three-day operation show that there is demand to sexually exploit young people in Northern Minnesota,” Itasca County Attorney Matti Adam said. “Partnering with other agencies in a proactive law enforcement effort helps detect those who prey on our young and vulnerable populations. I am thankful that Itasca County could partner with the task force in this effort.”

Those arrested range between ages 20 and 56. Two are from Grand Rapids, Minn.; one is from Chisholm, Minn.; one is from Sawyer, Minn.; and another is from Goodridge, Minn. Others are from Texas and Missouri.