Casualties

Yesterday afternoon the Minneapolis Star Tribune posted Dan Browning’s story on the sentencing of Daniel McNeal to 24 years in prison for human trafficking. Here is the lede of the story posted by the Star Tribune yesterday afternoon:

One down, 32 to go — and counting.
When Daniel McNeal was sentenced today to spend more than 24 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime on supervised release, he became the first casualty in U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose’s war on human trafficking.

I thought Browning’s description of a man convicted of human trafficking as a casaulty of (my friend) Rachel Paulose was bizarre. Browning and/or others at the Star Tribune must have had second thoughts about it. The final version of Browning’s story published in this morning’s paper deletes the reference to McNeal as a casualty in Paulose’s war and opens:

A 36-year-old Minneapolis man on Monday became the first in what the U.S. attorney in Minnesota promises will be a long line of human traffickers to be sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
Daniel McNeal, who has a history of sex trafficking and violent crimes, was charged in December 2006 with recruiting a 16-year-old Rogers girl into a life of prostitution and stripping jobs. On Monday, U.S. District Judge David Doty ordered McNeal to spend more than 24 years in federal prison, to be followed by a lifetime on supervised release.

Both versions of Browning’s article provide this context:

The fight against human-trafficking crimes became an early hallmark in the administration of President Bush. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act was enacted in October 2000 to ensure the punishment of traffickers and the protection of their victims. And the FBI identified the Twin Cities several years ago as having a particular problem with human trafficking.
But until Paulose became U.S. attorney in March 2006, there had been little evidence of the crime in Minnesota’s federal courtrooms.

This past May Paulose and local law enforcement authorities — with the exception of the Minneapolis Police Department — announced the indictment of 25 defendants for operating an international sex trafficking ring whose hub was based in Minneapolis. Browning’s reference to 33 defendants with pending human trafficking charges in Minnesota alludes to the major case announced in May, with respect to which we considered the immigration-related issues in “A blurry line.”
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