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GOP operative indicted on child sex trafficking charges

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Republican political operative has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Minnesota on child sex trafficking charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges Anton Lazzaro conspired with others to recruit and solicit six people under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex between May and December of 2020.

Lazzaro is charged with five counts of sex trafficking of minors, one count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor, one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and three counts of obstruction.

The 30-year-old Lazzaro is being held in the Sherburne County Jail.

Lazzaro’s attorney Zachary Newland said Lazzaro is being falsely accused and did not commit the crimes he’s charged with.

Lazzaro has connections to prominent Minnesota Republicans and managed the campaign of Republican Lacy Johnson, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar last year, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Pictures on Lazzaro’s Facebook and Twitter accounts show him with prominent Republican politicians, including former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.