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Online sex sting nets several arrests in St. Croix County

1 / 4
John R. Hansen2 / 4
Mason Hall3 / 4
Iqbal K. Tafader4 / 4

The run-up to the Super Bowl generated several arrests in St. Croix County after an online sex-crime sting involving state and local authorities.

According to criminal complaints issued last week, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation ran an undercover online operation out of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, held at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said the operation was a collaborative effort involving the sheriff's office and police from River Falls, Hudson and New Richmond working with the state agency. Knudson said Attorney General Brad Schimel was expected to elaborate on the operation later this week in Hudson.

Between Thursday and Friday, at least five people were arrested on suspicion of sex-related offenses. According to St. Croix County jail book-ins, two men were suspected of arranging sexual meet-ups with children — 33-year-old Independence, Wis., resident Iqbal K. Tafader and 36-year-old Hudson resident John R. Hansen.

Hansen was later charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court with attempted sexual assault of a child under 16, attempted child enticement and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. He was initially held on a $2,500 cash bond that was amended Monday to a co-signed $7,500 surety bond. His preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 16.

Tafader was formally charged with second-degree attempted sexual assault of a child, using a computer to facilitate a child-sex crime and solicitation of an intimate representation from a minor in connection with the Feb. 1 incident. He was being held on $10,000 cash bond in advance of a Feb. 7 status conference.

While DCI agents were in St. Croix County, they assisted in a raid on a North Hudson home where a man was suspected of possessing child porn. The Feb. 2 raid, which involved opening a 10th Street North home with a battering ram, led to the arrest of Mason S. Hall, 21.

He was later charged with six counts of felony child porn possession.

Two men were arrested Feb. 1 on suspicion of patronizing prostitutes. Jail records identified them as 22-year-old Jack Swanton of River Falls and 60-year-old Daniel Krusell of Hudson. Stillwater resident Matthew C. Collins, 31, was arrested Feb. 2 on suspicion of patronizing prostitutes. Formal charges had not been filed in any of those arrests as of Monday.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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