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Drug ring defendants also accused in prostitution case in Ward County

MINOT, N.D. – Two defendants indicted in a drug trafficking ring that federal authorities announced last week also face charges of human trafficking in Ward County.

Bryan Keith Davis, 48, and Regina Rose Lehman, 43, both Minot, are accused in court documents filed in North Central Judicial District Court of forcing two women to engage in prostitution between April 2014 and April 2015.

Lehman and Davis are among the 29 people indicted in U.S. District Court in what federal and state authorities said last week was a drug trafficking ring that operated between North Dakota and California.

Ward County court records say:

A woman told Minot police in April that Davis and Lehman had been “pimping” her out in Minot, Williston and Dickinson.

The woman said Lehman would post escort ads on Backpage.com and the woman was required to give most of the money from the sexual encounters to either Davis or Lehman, the documents say.

The woman said she was expected to bring in $1,000 per day and was allowed to keep a small amount of money, typically $30. The woman said Davis was physically abusive when she didn’t make enough money, records say.

The woman said when she worked in Williston and Dickinson she traveled with Davis and Lehman in a rental car. She also said Davis and Lehman supplied her with heroin and meth.

Minot police interviewed the woman after arresting her on outstanding warrants. A second woman told police she had left a violent relationship and resorted to prostitution to make money, also advertising on Backpage.com.

The second woman said she met Davis at a Minot hotel when she didn’t have money to pay for her room and he paid it and said he’d look out for her. The woman said Davis told her she owed him money and attached exorbitant interest to what she owed him.

Warrants of arrest were issued for Davis and Lehman on the county charges in June.

They have not yet been arrested, and are also being sought for charges in an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Bismarck for allegedly distributing meth in North Dakota.

The investigation, which authorities nicknamed “Operation Western Edge,” is the first major drug bust credited to cooperation between federal, state and local authorities participating in the Bakken Organized Crime Strike Force.a