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News Briefs: Duluth man gets 25 years in sex trafficking case

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News Briefs: Duluth man gets 25 years in sex trafficking case
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The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.

MINNESOTA

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Duluth man gets 25 years in sex trafficking case

MINNEAPOLIS -- A man convicted of prostituting an underage girl throughout the Upper Midwest has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Federal prosecutors showed evidence that Markeace Arque “Quake” Canty, 33, of Duluth, had advertised online the services of K.W., a former girlfriend of his who would have been about 17 at the time, and transported her to Grand Forks and other Midwestern cities, according to court records.

A police raid in Grand Forks reaped key evidence against Canty, the Justice Department said.

A federal jury in Minneapolis convicted him Sept. 12 of sex trafficking of a child and conspiring to commit sex trafficking of a child. He was sentenced Friday.

Advertisements for K.W. began appearing July 2012 on Backpage.com, which has become notorious for prostitution ads over the years. Locations listed on the ad included places in Minnesota and nearby states.

Police in various cities reported encountering Canty with K.W. and other women linked to the ads, court records say.

Besides the 25-year sentence, Canty will be on 15 years of supervised probation after release.

Cass Lake man charged with molesting 5-year-old

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A Cass Lake man has been charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly molesting a 5-year-old girl in February.

Ira Ray Keezer, 37, was arrested Wednesday at a campground near Cass Lake. Keezer is accused of sexually assaulting the girl while she was visiting family in Bemidji.

The girl informed her father, who she lives with in St. Cloud, in July that Keezer had touched her inappropriately in February, according to a criminal complaint.

The girl’s father alerted authorities in St. Cloud and Bemidji. The child was interviewed at the Family Advocacy Center, where she informed a nurse practitioner that she had been molested by Keezer when she was left alone with him, according to court documents.

Keezer denied touching the girl inappropriately. He was being held in the Beltrami County Jail.

Keezer’s criminal history includes felony check forgery, domestic assault, obstructing arrest, DUI and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to the complaint.

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony offense with a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. Keezer is scheduled to appear in court Monday. 

NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota ranks No. 2 in business survival rates

BISMARCK -- North Dakota ranks second in the nation for business survival rates, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The study assessed the states in which new businesses were most likely to survive.

In 2003, there were 1,094 business establishments born in North Dakota. Nearly half of these businesses (47.1 percent) survived until 2013.

Nationally, 610,082 businesses were established in 2003. Of these businesses, 226,809 (37.17 percent) survived.

California had the highest survival rate.

The number of limited liability companies registered in North Dakota increased 130 percent during the past four years from 12,459 to 28,657, according to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

“This number of new businesses, along with this recent top ranking survival rate, shows the continued strength of North Dakota,” Jaeger said.

The complete business survival report is available at www.bls.gov/bdm.

N.D. Supreme Court rules man’s accidental arrest OK

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a Grand Forks court ruling against a Minnesota man who claimed police violated his constitutional rights when they arrested him while carrying out an unrelated search warrant.

Luke Adam Gatlin of East Grand Forks was hiding in a closet when police found him while searching a Grand Forks home for someone else, according to court documents.

Officers learned Gatlin had an active arrest warrant against him. While booking him at the county jail, they found a meth pipe in his pocket and charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia -- in addition to the initial charges of theft and refusing to halt.

Among Gatlin’s arguments was that the pipe should be thrown out as evidence because officers had violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, according to the court opinion.

Under North Dakota law, house guests are entitled to object to a police search and may move in court to throw out evidence recovered during the search, the court opinion indicated.

But the courts ruled that Gatlin never objected to the search while it was happening, and so he “loses out” on his opportunity to exclude evidence, according to the court opinion.

Plane crash kills pilot in southeast North Dakota

LISBON, N.D. – The pilot of a small plane is dead after a plane crash in southeast North Dakota on Thursday evening.

North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Tom Herzig identified the victim as Larry Ketterling, 64, of Lisbon. Herzig said the small personal airplane went down in a wheat field 4 miles northwest of Lisbon about 7:40 p.m.

The plane sustained extensive damage to its front and underside, Herzig said.

The incident remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Minot airport gets $10.5 million in federal money

MINOT, N.D. -- The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded nearly $10.5 million in grants to Minot International Airport, according to a news release.

The funds will go toward the airport’s runway and apron project. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., announced in May that the airport would receive about $9 million, but local officials said they needed an additional $1.5 million, according to the release.

The Federal Aviation Administration had received a request from the airport authority but hadn’t given a decision, so it asked Hoeven to contact the agency about expediting a decision so the project could be completed this year.

The senator was notified Friday that the FAA had accepted his request for additional funding and awarded $1.47 million to the airport.

“The Minot region is growing at a tremendous rate, with more people traveling into and out of the city every year,” Hoeven said in the release.

Hoeven is expected to visit Minot on Tuesday to review progress on the terminal and other improvement projects for infrastructure and functionality at the airport.

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