MESA COUNTY, Colo. (ABC4) — Utah officials helped their counterparts in Colorado conduct a two-day undercover sting operation last week in which 10 men were arrested for child sex-related crimes.
Utah and Colorado authorities conducted a two-day undercover operation last week arresting 10 people for child sex-related crimes, according to officials.
Officers from Utah, Colorado, and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the operation “targeting suspects who use the internet to solicit underage persons for sex,” officials in Mesa County, Colorado, said.
The operation focused on alleged internet sexual predators in the Mesa County area, the county directly across state lines from Grand County in Utah. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the multi-agency operation.
After the two-day operation, 10 men ranging in age from 28 to 68 years old were arrested and booked into jail. They are all facing charges related to child sexual exploitation or abuse crimes. These include soliciting for child prostitution, attempted sex assault on a child, and attempted patronizing (seeking to engage in sexual activity) of a prostituted child, officials said.
In Colorado, felonies are divided into six degrees, and these charges range from fifth-degree felonies to third-degree felonies.
Penalties for fifth-degree felonies range from one to four years in prison, fourth-degree felonies range from two to 16 years, and third-degree felonies range from 10 to 32 years in prison, according to government documents.
“All Law Enforcement Agencies involved in this operation want these arrests to serve as a warning to those who knowingly and willfully solicit underage persons for sexual acts that these crimes are not tolerated in Mesa County,” a press release said.
The following individuals were arrested as part of the operation:
- Pablo Cristobal-Apitzagco, 35
- Cameron Gallegos-Shawcroft, 31
- Kevin Martin, 68
- Anthony Martinez, 37
- Yogesh Patel, 56
- Andrew Peterson, 34
- John Rentie, 39
- Russell Sheley, 39
- Matthew Stieb, 28
- Kevin Walters, 34