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Two more men caught in Burke County Sheriff’s sting operation

Two more area men have been charged with Class C felony luring a minor by computer in district court in Burke County as a result of a month-long sting operation by the Burke County Sheriff’s Department.

In separate cases, Randy Emmett Kramer, 65, of Deering, and Justin Alan Helseth, 25, of Minot, were each charged with Class C felony luring a minor by computer. Both were charged on Feb. 26. According to the Burke County Sheriff’s Department, Helseth had graphic conversations with someone he believed to be a 15-year-old girl and Kramer had sexually graphic conversations with someone he believed to be a 16-year-old boy. The Minot Police Department assisted Burke County in apprehending Helseth and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office assisted Burke County in arresting Kramer. Both men made initial appearances in court on Monday before North Central District Court Judge Stacy Louser, who set bond for Helseth at $10,000 cash, with a requirement that he pay 10 percent, or $5,000 corporate surety and at $5,000 cash or corporate surety for Kramer.

Louser also ordered both men to have no contact with anyone under 18 and not to use the internet. She also ordered Helseth to cooperate with pre-trial services. She set bond higher for Kramer because she deemed him a higher risk because he doesn’t have a lawyer and pre-trial services is not involved. Helseth will be required to check in with pre-trial services four times a month, twice in person and twice by phone, while he is out on bond. Neither man has a prior criminal record. Preliminary hearings for both are scheduled for April 13.

Burke County Sheriff Shawn Brien said Monday that three other men were charged earlier in February in separate cases as a result of the sting operation. All three allegedly engaged in sexually explicit conversations with people they believed to be teenagers, but were actually fake social media profiles set up by Burke County sheriff’s deputies. These men each allegedly set up a meeting to have sexual contact with a “teen” and were arrested after they arrived for the meeting. These three who were arrested earlier include Jordan Wayne Kostek, 23, of Noonan, who is alleged to have had explicit conversation with someone he thought was a 15-year-old boy and drove to meet him; Jay Roy Moody, 38, of Bowman, who is alleged to have talked with and arranged to meet someone he thought was a 16-year-old girl and drove to a lake in Burke County to meet her; and Antonio Malnourie, 22, of Minot, who is alleged to have had explicit conversation with and arranged to meet someone he thought was 14-year-old boy for sexual contact at an ice house on an area lake.

The sheriff’s department dubbed its sting operation “Operation Ice House” because some of the men had set up meetings at an ice house on an area lake and were arrested after they showed up for the meeting.

“I’m really proud of my officers for what they did,” said Brien, who added that he was surprised that so many charges resulted from the operation in such a short period of time.

He said some of his officers took an online training on best practices in running this kind of operation beforehand.

Word has been getting out about Operation Ice House, so the office will slow down its investigation for now, said Brien.

Brien also urged parents to monitor what their children are doing online and said people should be careful on the internet and avoid accepting friend requests or meeting people they do not know.

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