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Forum staff reports, Published September 29 2010

Man pleads not guilty in human trafficking case

A man with ties to the Red River Valley has pleaded not guilty to federal charges in connection with what authorities called the largest human-trafficking case in U.S. history.

Shane Germann, 41, formerly of Hope and Valley City, N.D., entered his plea Monday in Hawaii’s U.S. District Court, where five other men also face federal charges in connection with the conspiracy.

Germann is named as an onsite manager, regional supervisor and security guard for a California-based company whose officials are accused of luring about 400 Thai nationals into forced labor in the United States, including on a Hawaiian pineapple farm.

For his alleged role, Germann faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Germann turned himself in to authorities in Fargo earlier this month and was released on his own recognizance.

Among the conditions of his release, Germann can travel only between North Dakota and Hawaii for court purposes, and he cannot possess a firearm or intentionally contact other defendants or witnesses tied to the case.

A trial has been set for Nov. 3.