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Court: Former EPA crusader arrested for sex trafficking

Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:44:30 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 17 2013 09:02:47 PM CDT
Michael Sackett

A former North Idaho man who made headlines nationwide in a battle with the Environmental Protection Agency is now under arrest, charged with sex trafficking in North Dakota.

Forty-seven-year old Michael T. Sackett was booked into the Burleigh County Detention Center in Bismarck. Though most of the case is sealed, court documents filed in federal court allege Sackett and another man, 23-year old Jordan Christiansen, of Montana, were arrested for attempting to entice an underage girl across state lines to "engage in a commercial sex act." 

Sackett made an initial court appearance in Bismarck Tuesday and will be back in court Friday.

Sources close to the investigation confirm Sackett is originally from North Idaho but works and lives in Williston, N.D.

Sackett and his wife, Chantell Sackett, made headlines in recent years for their very public fight against the EPA. The case involved property the Sacketts bought in Priest Lake, Idaho, that the EPA determined was a wetland and fined them thousands of dollars for building without a permit. The story made national headlines, and the Sacketts appeared on network news shows, telling their David vs. Goliath story.

They took their challenge all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously in their favor in the spring of 2012.

The Sacketts filed for bankruptcy protection in February, listing more than $2 million in debt. In May, The Cincinnati Insurance Company filed a claim against the Sacketts, saying bonds it issued for construction projects in Idaho were not paid out properly and that those debts should not be forgiven in the bankruptcy case. A hearing on the matter was set for Thursday.

When reached for comment, Sackett's attorney in that case told KXLY 4, "I'm not talking about Michael Sackett today."

KXLY 4 also called Chantell Sackett, but she hung up when the caller identified herself as a journalist.