Release: Sex Trafficking Operation Results in Arrests 

Sex Trafficking Operation Results in Arrests 

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley, United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler, Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris, and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom announce that the Division of Criminal Investigation, the South Dakota Internet   Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and Homeland Security Investigations have conducted investigations into sex trafficking during the Motorcycle Rally.

“It is important that we protect our children with law enforcement operations that   focus on removing sexual predators from our streets. Our operations continue to  protect children and send a message that South Dakota is off-limits to anyone seeking to harm our children,” said  Jackley.

“Despite the intense publicity and focus on human trafficking these past few years, these undercover operations serve as a somber reminder that some people will throw caution to the wind and succumb to their perverted instincts,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler. “I’m proud of the joint collaboration displayed by law enforcement and our united efforts to bring sex traffickers to justice.”

The investigation resulted in the following felony arrests and indictments for sex crimes:

Eric Carl Afrank, 22, Rapid City, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Joshua Aschwege, 33, Black Hawk, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Donald Scott Baker, 45 Osceola, MO, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Kevin J. Carney, 30, Portland CT, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Jimmy Rudy Custodio, 39, Edina MN, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Erik Glenn Dahlquist, 29, Rapid City, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Abdurrahman Keskin, 26, Silvan Turkey, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Carlocito Slim, 31, Lake Jackson, TX, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Daniel David Wasner, 31, St. Cloud, MN, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)


Senator Mike Rounds speaks at the AFP Luncheon

Lots of people here at the Americans for Prosperity Luncheon, including elected officials, to hear Senator Mike Rounds talk about the need for Tax Reform at the federal level.

Just a couple of quick snapshots..

Update – more photos from the event…

Dick Kelly. Steve Haugaard and Lora Hubbel at the event…

Don Haggar with AFP asks audience questions…

Senator Rounds responds…

Group organizing anti-Trump candidates to run for office. Isn’t that the SDDP’s job?

Susan Kroger, who had been the Executive Director of NARAL-SD, but is now with Sanford, was recognized by the Washington Post in an article yesterday about people who are organizing “resistance efforts” in pro-Trump areas:

When Susan Kroger decided to help launch a political activism group for women in her largely rural, pro-Trump region, she expected a few dozen liberal neighbors to show up.

But when she opened the doors at the group’s first community meeting in Sioux Falls, S.D., 100 people flooded into the room. Now nine months later, Kroger says the group has quickly grown to 2,300 active members.

It’s a story emerging across Trump country, where left-leaning grass-roots groups have popped up in some of the reddest parts of the nation — a sign that “the resistance” has gone rural.


LEAD South Dakota has a nine-person board of directors and committees tasked with monitoring state legislative activity, candidate recruitment and other efforts. So far, the group is working with 75 candidates who are interested in running for office and is planning to break into chapters across the state to help manage its rapid growth.

Read the entire article here.

The enthusiasm of this organization seems to be coming about as a result of the election. That kind of thing happens after one side gets shellacked or otherwise motivated.

But what I notice is that they’re forming into their own group. And despite the fact that the group leader’s resume reads like a who’s who of Democrat patrons and causes, such as NARAL, ACLU, Tim Johnson, etc., it seems that they’re not coalescing around the troubled and inept South Dakota Democrat Party, who sheds voters like my retriever sheds fur in the summer.

(Here’s a picture of my big, goofy dog for reference. Trust me, she sheds a lot of fur.)

What are your thoughts?

The beginning of the end of satellite campuses in SD

From the Capital Journal, the Board of Regents is getting ready to drop the ax on higher education in Pierre:

State government’s Board of Regents wants central office staff and officials from South Dakota’s two largest universities to bring a plan for closing the jointly operated Capital University Center in Pierre.

Without taking a vote, the regents last week directed the plan should be ready for their next board meeting Oct. 3-5 at Dakota State University in Madison.

The matter came to a head Thursday, during a long discussion about the university centers at Pierre, Sioux Falls and Rapid City, on the final afternoon of a three-day planning meeting in Pierre.

“We have to do some type of wind-down. What will that be?” regent John Bastian of Belle Fourche said about CUC. “If we decide to do that, we can make intelligent decisions.”

Regent Kevin Schieffer of Sioux Falls pushed hardest. Schieffer told the six university presidents, eight other regents and the board’s executive director, Mike Rush, he’s tired of kicking the can down the road.

Read it all here.

It’s not like Pierre is the only struggling satellite campus. Sioux Falls’ University Center is having its own issues as well. 

When the Regents are dropping the hammer on Capital University Center, does that signal that other programs are not far behind?

Guest Column: Uncovering The Real Agenda Behind Ballot Measures

By State Representative Drew Dennert. Drew Dennert is a sixth generation South Dakotan, his family first settled here in 1893. As the grandson of one of the longest serving state legislators in state history, H. Paul Dennert, Dennert comes from a family of public service. Dennert at age 17 served as a Legislative Page; at 19, he served as a Legislative Aide; and at 21 years old, Dennert is the youngest serving legislator in the state of South Dakota.

Uncovering The Real Agenda Behind Ballot Measures

Last year South Dakotans cast their vote for a near record breaking 10 ballot measures, nearly beating the modern record set in 2006 of 11 measures in an election.

Next year we may be poised to beat the 2006 ballot measure record, as 20 measures have been submitted for review and several have been approved for circulation. But before any of these measures can make it to the ballot, they must collect enough valid signatures from South Dakota voters before the November 6th deadline.

Like every election, most ballot measures have good intentions but some may have unintended consequences that voters should consider before signing off on to put them on the ballot – or vote them in. Something I know all too well from personal experience.

In 2015, I remember being approached by a petition circulator who asked if I would be willing to sign his petition for Marsy’s Law. I asked him to explain what the measure would do and after his explanation that the measure would guarantee equal rights for victims in the judicial process, I made the decision to sign it.

But soon after signing the petition, I did some research of my own and learned that the measure was sponsored by an out-of-state group and that measure could have significant costs for local taxpayers, which the measure’s sponsors wouldn’t have to bear. It quickly became apparent to me that it wasn’t as simple as the circulator had explained; and whether or not it was a good decision to sign it – I was disappointed in myself for not taking the time to evaluate the issue and make an informed decision beforehand.

Many of the upcoming 2018 election ballot measures sound good on the surface, but by digging a little deeper, you may find they carry some unintended consequences. That’s why I plan to ask questions and slow down this year when approached to sign another ballot measure petition. 

Petition circulators are great salesman and know how to do their job quickly and effectively, but some simple questions may get some answers to give pause before signing.

A great question is to ask whether the measure’s sponsor is from South Dakota or not. Out of state groups commonly want to have their cake and eat it too – by pushing their agendas while never facing the unintended consequences they may have. I want to know the people that came up with the law, whether good or bad, will have to live under it just like you and me if it passes.

Often these out-of-state groups hire professional circulators to get the required number of signatures to get their issue on our ballot. That’s why it’s worth asking the petition circulator whether they are being paid or are a volunteer – it’s the difference between doing a job or believing in a cause.

And finally ask to read the Attorney General’s explanation of the measure, which is on the back of every petition in its entirety. It’s worth reading, if not just to make sure that the circulator isn’t selling you a bill of goods.

South Dakota is the birthplace of the ballot measure process, leading the country in this vital tool, and we should all participate. But we should do so informed and confidently in our decision, because we’re the ones that have to live with our choices.

Photos from the Brookings Co. GOP Picnic Friday Night

While this overcast, rainy Sunday isn’t outdoors weather, Friday night was great. And the nice weather coincided with the Brookings County GOP’s annual summer picnic with loyal Republicans, candidates and more!

Here Attorney General Candidate Jason Ravnsborg hunkers down with a local, and discusses the ballot issues coming up in 2018:

Master of picnic ceremonies and County Chair Jim Gilkerson makes introductions, and invites everyone over to the serving line..

Dusty Johnson brought cookies to the picnic..

Thumbs up, they were pretty good.

PUC Commissioner Chris Nelson gave everyone an update on wind power issues…

And School and Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner spoke about his office’s activities.

The Jackley Campaign for Governor was represented by Robert Peterson (you might recognize his Mom & Dad).  Both Marty and Kristi Noem were at the Governor’s Meeting in Nashville.

State Senator Larry Tidemann and Representative John Mills spoke about the issues of the day, and their experiences in the State Legislature this past session.

It was a great picnic, and all the candidates and elected officials who attended hung around to the bitter end speaking with the attendees. Great job Brookings GOP!

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: The Future is Within Our Reach

The Future is Within Our Reach
By Sen. John Thune

The 24-hour cable news cycle is typically dominated by front burner issues of the day – everything from the latest news in Washington to updates about events or instability in other parts of the world. Many of these stories rightfully deserve the American people’s attention, but whether it’s a national cable network or a small town newspaper, there’s never enough time in the day or space on the page to cover every single story.

One story that isn’t likely to generate a breaking news alert or land above the fold is the good work happening behind the scenes in our Senate committees. I’ve always believed that Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can focus on the big picture issues of the day while keeping our nose to the grindstone on other priorities. For the last several years, that’s been my goal as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

This year alone, the committee has sent nearly forty bills, almost all of them bipartisan, to the full Senate. More than a quarter of those bills made it to the House, and we’ve already had a handful signed into law. In early August, the Senate passed a half dozen committee-approved technology and telecommunications bills that are now one step closer to becoming law. Among them was my MOBILE NOW Act, which would help lay some important groundwork for next-generation gigabit wireless broadband services throughout the country.

If you grew up in the ‘80s or ‘90s or are interested in film and television, you’re probably familiar with Hollywood’s take on the future, which at the time only seemed possible on the big screen. Dick Tracy had a two-way radio wrist watch, Marty McFly had self-tying shoes, a smart jacket, and a hoverboard, and Elroy Jetson had, well, every kind of toy or gadget a young kid could imagine. While some of Hollywood’s futuristic portrayals have since become reality, thanks in large part to the explosive growth of wireless broadband technology, America’s innovators and entrepreneurs have the capability and desire to do so much more. That’s one of the main reasons why I introduced the MOBILE NOW Act.

My bill would help get the government out of innovators’ way by cutting red tape and ensuring more spectrum (the airwaves that help make today’s wireless technology possible) is made available to folks in the private sector. The government currently controls a large portion of underutilized spectrum, so my bill sets a realistic timeline for transferring a significant amount of it to the commercial sector for innovators and entrepreneurs to use. My bill would also accelerate and streamline the process for the creation of physical infrastructure projects, like antennas and towers, which will be required for next-generation gigabit wireless broadband services, like 5G, for example.

Think about all of the technological advancements that have occurred just in your lifetime. Now imagine what could be accomplished in the next 10 or 20 years if innovators had the tools and opportunities to take the next step, free from unnecessary government obstacles and red tape. I’m excited for what’s to come, and I hope I can help South Dakota be a pioneer in this upcoming digital revolution.