Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged in connection with sex trafficking investigation

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JUPITER, Fla. (WNCN/AP/WFLA) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is facing prostitution charges, according to CBS Miami.

Kraft was arrested in Palm Beach County on Friday as part of a sex sting operation, CBS 17’s Miami affiliate reported.

The charges stem from a months-long investigation into a massage parlor near Jupiter, Florida, police said.

Kraft is charged with the solicitation of a prostitute.

“We’re as equally stunned as anyone else,” said police during a Friday morning news conference. According to CBS Miami, police also said they have video evidence capturing the sex act.

Kraft is charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution in connection with two alleged incidents.

Authorities say they are also concerned about money laundering in the case.

Jupiter police told reporters Friday that the 77-year-old Kraft hasn’t been arrested. A warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified.

The charge comes amid a widespread crackdown on sex trafficking in the area surrounding Palm Beach County. About 200 arrest warrants have been issued in recent days and more are expected. Police said they secretly planted undercover cameras in targeted massage parlors and videotaped the interactions between men and the female employees.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl earlier this month in Atlanta. The team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Kraft said they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

Kraft’s wife Myra Hiatt died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.

The NFL did not immediately respond to a message Friday seeking comment.

CBS Miami reported that Kraft’s name is on a list of at least 25 people who will face charges in connection with a crackdown on human trafficking and spa sex acts.

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