Seven people were arrested last week by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a two-day operation to trace suspected Internet child sex predators who the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said were “having sex with children.” , or were attempting to engage in prostitution.”
The investigation was conducted by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Junction Police Department, the Palisade Police Department, the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the FBI.
Mesa County Sheriff Todd Rowell said in a news release, “This operation sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they may be exploiting our children in our community – we will catch you, you will go to jail, and you will be prosecuted.” “The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to working together to find people who would harm our children.”
Sheriff’s officials said this massive multi-sectoral undercover operation was carried out by “highly trained investigators” who posted advertisements of sex with children on several different websites and social media platforms.
The seven arrested are aged between 25 and 62 and live in Grand Junction; Clifton, Colorado; Roswell, New Mexico; and Rossville, Georgia.
He faces charges including soliciting child prostitution and attempted sexual assault on a child.
“Investigators are still following this operation. They expect a few more arrests, at least two, but possibly more, said Megan Terleki, a spokeswoman for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
Terleki said such crimes are not necessarily uncommon. In fact, they are growing not only in Mesa County, but across the country.
“Unfortunately, this is happening more and more,” she said. “The Internet makes it very easy to connect. While this can be really cool, it also has some dark sides. Parents and community members need to be aware of this problem. Having an open dialogue is important. Never mind. -Sometimes children do not want to talk about bullying or inappropriate behavior online for fear of their device being taken away.Parents need to keep the lines of communication open with their children so that they feel safe online What is happening.
Suspected child sexual abuse or missing children can be reported to the Operation Predator partner National Center for Missing and Exploited Children through its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.