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How 2 St. Paul cops helped crack alleged sex-trafficking ring

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Heather Weyker is a St. Paul police officer who investigates human trafficking, but she’s also a mom.

“The girls that are 10 and 9 that have their moms pimp them out, or the teenagers — you just want to give them a big hug and take them home with you,” Weyker said.

When federal indictments were unsealed last week charging 29 people in an underage-sex-trafficking case that stretched from the Twin Cities to Nashville, Tenn., Weyker was not at the news conferences. But behind the scenes, she and another St. Paul police officer were essential to the case.

Weyker started the investigation and was the lead investigator, said Sgt. John Bandemer, who is the lead sergeant for the department’s vice unit and heads the Gerald D. Vick Human Trafficking Task Force. Bandemer supervised Weyker and worked with her on the investigation, particularly in the past year.

They’ve spent thousands of hours on the case. Weyker has traveled to Nashville more than 20 times in the past year or so, and Bandemer has gone about a dozen times.

Weyker and Bandemer said the time away from their families was difficult but worth it.

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