TUCSON – A multi-agency operation , which included the Tucson Police Department, led to the arrest of 21 sexual predators last week.
According to the Tucson Police Department (TPD), during the week of July 29 through August 2, twelve agencies conducted multiple undercover internet chats with people claiming to be adults. Law enforcement personnel posed as juveniles and agreed to meet the adults in to engage in sexual acts.
Twelve agencies participated in the TPD operation, including Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD), Pima County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD), Department of Public Safety (DPS), United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Marshals Service (USMS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Secret Service (USSS), Pima County Attorney’s Office (PCAO) and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AZAG).
Agencies involved conducted multiple undercover internet chats from July 29 to August 2, with individuals claiming to be adults. The law enforcement personnel who were chatting on-line posed as juveniles and agreed to meet the adults in Tucson to engage in sexual acts. At the end of the five day operation, 21 sexual predators were taken into custody without incident, after arriving to meet with the “juvenile” they were talking to on-line.
All 21 men were booked into the Pima County Jail and charged with Luring of a Minor for Sexual Exploitation (Class 3 Felony). A large majority of those arrested were booked on additional charges including Aggravated Luring of a Minor for Sexual Exploitation (Class 2 Felony), Sex Trafficking of a Minor (Class 2 Felony), Attempted Sex Conduct with a Minor (Class 3 Felony), and Sex Offender Registration Violation (Class 4 Felony).
“The resolve our TPD members displayed while planning and carrying out this work was outstanding,” said Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus. “We recognize the value of working on these types of investigations in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, including those at the federal level. Their expertise and support were critical to the success of this operation. This was truly a team effort. Together we successfully apprehended 21 child predators.”
“The U.S. Marshals Service is dedicated to pursuing and stopping these types of predators,” said District of Arizona U.S. Marshal David Gonzales. “Our partnership with the Tucson Police Department and other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, makes every effort to assure that child predators will be brought to justice and face the consequences of their actions.”
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) continues to proudly partner with dedicated law enforcement agencies that work to protect children from predators who seek to take advantage of their innocence,” said Scott Brown, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Phoenix. “HSI remains steadfast in finding these predators to bring them to justice and out of our communities.”
“Through operations like this, law enforcement agencies are able to work together to protect our children and keep our communities safe,” said Sean Kaul, Special Agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. “We value our partnerships with our state, local, and federal partners and we look forward to continuing our efforts to combat crimes against children.”