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A former teacher with South Washington County Schools was among at least three men arrested in Woodbury during a sex trafficking sting the week before Super Bowl. Andrew Henry Burfeind, 54 of St. Paul, faces a felony charge of felony charges of soliciting prostitution from someone age 13 to 16. According to the Washington County criminal complaint: Burfeind responded to a Backpage.com post law enforcement placed as part of an undercover operation depicting the poster as a 15-year-old boy.
A California woman was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for her role in a "sophisticated" sex trafficking ring spanning 29 states. Washington County Judge Susan Miles sentenced Hong Jing, 50, of Irvine, Calif., Feb. 9 after being convicted of felony racketeering and aiding and abetting prostitution charges. The plea arrangement saw four additional felony charges dismissed.
A weeklong investigation targeting patrons of child sex trafficking led to at least three arrests in Woodbury the week of Super Bowl. Authorities with the multi-agency East Metro Sex Trafficking task force during the undercover investigation posted advertisements to cragislist.com and backpage.com alluding to paid sexual acts with children younger than 16. The men who responded to the posts were instructed to come to an apartment in Woodbury, where they were arrested upon arrival.
A Cottage Grove man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife following a failed murder-for-hire plot. A Washington County jury convicted Stephen Carl Allwine of first-degree premeditated murder Jan. 31, concluding a week-long trial. Washington County District Judge William B. Ekstrum handed down the life sentence Feb. 2. First-degree murder convictions come with a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Ready to take the plunge? Registration for the fourth annual Woodbury Polar Plunge Feb. 10 opened earlier this week. Each year, hundreds of brave "plungers" brave the icy waters of Carver Lake to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. Last year's event raised nearly $98,000 as 550 brave participants leapt into the frozen-over lake. The funds benefit more than 8,200 Special Olympics athletes as they train and compete throughout the year. Nearly 400 participants are registered for this year's plunge, totaling $39,223 in donations so far.
A Cottage Grove man has been convicted of first-degree premeditated murder. Stephen Carl Allwine drugged and shot his wife, Amy Allwine, before attempting to stage her 2016 death as a suicide, prosecutors said. Her death followed the failure of an elaborate, months-long plot Stephen Allwine hatched to have his wife killed. Jurors agreed, issuing a guilty verdict Jan. 31 after nearly eight hours of deliberation, the Pioneer Press reports. Sentencing is scheduled Feb. 2.
A convicted sex offender St. Paul police identified as a person of interest in a nearly 25-year-old missing person case will spend four years in prison on felony kidnapping charges. A Washington County court handed down the 54-month sentence to Mark Steven Wallace, a 55-year-old Andover man found guilty of kidnapping to commit great bodily harm, a felony. Charges for misdemeanor drug possession and felony stalking were dropped.
The next round of state elections will task Minnesotans with casting votes for nine congressional seats, all 134 State House seats and a successor to Gov. Mark Dayton. Polls won't open until August and November, but voters across the state will have the opportunity to help launch the election process next week at precinct caucuses. Citizens will have opportunities Tuesday, Feb. 6, to discuss party platforms, select delegates and vote for the gubernatorial candidate they'd like their party to support. Registration starts at 6:30 p.m. with caucusing to follow at 7 p.m.
A St. Paul man was sentenced to just over six years in prison on charges stemming from the overdose death of a Cottage Grove woman. Mario Juan Harris, 33, was convicted Jan. 19 of felony first-degree narcotic sale. A third-degree murder charge related to the case, to which Harris pleaded not guilty earlier this year, was dismissed. A warrant for Harris' arrest was filed Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington County. According to the criminal complaint:
The City of Woodbury is asking the state Legislature to allow inspection fees for public data under Minnesota’s open records law, citing financial burdens from records requests. The proposal was included in a legislative wishlist, approved by City Council approved Jan. 24. The Minnesota Data Practices Act (DPA) guarantees access to public information from government agencies.