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2 arrested in Itasca Co. human trafficking bust were Line 3 workers

Enbridge Line 3 pipeline construction in Carlton County, MN.

ITASCA CO., MN -- Two men arrested and charged in a human trafficking sting in Itasca County were working on Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline replacement project, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Michael West, 53, of Rolla, Missouri and Matthew Ty Hall, 33, of Mount Pleasant, Texas were among a total of seven men arrested in the bust.

According to the criminal complaints, West was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit and one count of solicitation to engage in prostitution.

Hall was charged with one count of solicitation of a person believed to be a minor.

"Enbridge has zero tolerance for all illegal and exploitive behavior," said Juli Kellner, a spokesperson for Enbridge. "Such behaviors from anyone associated with this project will not be tolerated and are immediate grounds for dismissal."

The men were employed by Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based Precision Pipeline, LLC, a contractor working on Line 3.

Enbridge said both men were fired after their arrests.

"We support all efforts by law enforcement to arrest perpetrators as well as the prosecution of anyone participating in trafficking to the maximum extent of the law," Kellner said.

Kellner said each worker receives "human trafficking awareness training" prior to beginning work on the project.

Precision Pipeline, LLC's statement:

The two workers were terminated immediately when the company learned that they had violated our zero tolerance for illegal behavior. We remain steadfast in our commitment to compliance with all anti-trafficking and anti-exploitation laws and our zero tolerance for those who seek to deprive others of their fundamental freedoms and human rights is at the core of our organization.

Kevin Jacobsen

News Director

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