This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in cooperation with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), and the Bloomington, Minn. Police Department.
Arthur James Chappell, 40, of no known address, was sentenced to 336 months in federal prison, and 20 years of supervised release, on the following convictions:
- two counts of sex trafficking a minor
- one count of possessing child pornography
- one count of conspiracy to possess child pornography
- one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography
- two counts of enticing travel for prostitution
- two counts of transportation with intent to engage in prostitution
- one count of conspiracy to entice travel for prostitution
- one count of conspiracy to transport with intent to engage in prostitution.
Chappell, also known as AJ and J, was indicted April 4, 2012 and was convicted on Oct. 24, following a federal jury trial.
"This sentence is the result of the great partnership HSI has with the Bloomington Police Department and the Minnesota BCA," said Michael Feinberg, special agent in charge of HSI St. Paul. "Sex trafficking is an unmerciful crime, but because human trafficking is so widespread, no one law enforcement entity can adequately address it. Law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota are committed to giving victims the help they need to come forward and help us end this terrible crime."
The evidence presented at trial proved that from August 2006 through July 2007, Chappell ran a multi-state prostitution ring. In the summer of 2007, he recruited two girls under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex acts as part of his illegal business. Also, in July 2007, Chappell also enticed or coerced two adult women to travel to other states to engage in prostitution.
In addition, Chappell possessed one or more items containing visual depictions of child pornography. He conspired with others to possess such depictions, and induced or coerced a child to engage in conduct so he could produce child pornography.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.