WORTHINGTON, MN—Three men — including two from N’West Iowa — have been arrested as part of an undercover sex sting in Worthington, MN.

According to court documents, multiple law enforcement agencies met Oct. 11 at the Prairie Justice Center in Worthington in connection with a covert operation that targeted adults who electronically solicit children and hire, offer or agree to hire children for commercial sex in violation of Minnesota law.

The Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force led the operation, during which an undercover agent pretended to be a 15-year-old female who would soon turn 16 and communicated electronically with the three men about compensation for sexual services.

According to similar criminal complaints, Troy Lee Remmers, 50, of Hartley and Eric Tran, 21, of Sioux Falls, SD, each “used a computer or other electronic device capable of electronic data storage to access the internet and communicate with a person believed to be 15 years of age.

“The communication began when the defendant responded via text message to an advertisement previously posted on a website that is commonly used for the advertisement and solicitation of commercial sex.”

Remmers and Tran were taken into custody after they each drove from their respective residences to agreed-upon meeting locations in Worthington where they expected to encounter a 15-year-old female.

According to court documents, Remmers “admitted to driving to Worthington from his home in Hartley, Iowa, which was between 45 minutes and one hour from Worthington. The defendant had $150 in his front pocket as well as his cellphone.”

Samuel George De Vries, 26, of Orange City also “used a computer or other electronic device capable of electronic data storage to access the internet and communicate with a person believed to be 15 years of age,” according to court documents.

“The conversation between the defendant and the UC was sexual in nature. The defendant said he was looking for something casual and fun.”

De Vries was taken into custody after he arrived at an agreed-upon location in Worthington where he expected to encounter a 15-year-old female. According to court documents, “The defendant said he went to a Casey’s gas station and purchased condoms and took $100 out of the ATM.”

De Vries, Remmers and Tran each have been charged with the following felonies:

  • Third-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct.
  • Fourth-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct.
  • Prostitution of an individual believed to be between ages 13 and 16 years old.
  • Solicitation of a child or believed child through electronic communication to en­­gage in sexual conduct.
  • Engagement in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child.
  • Distribution of electronic communication material that relates/describes sexual conduct to a child.