PHOENIX – Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) recently partnered with the Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa Police Departments along with the FBI and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office on an Internet Crimes Against Children sting resulting in nearly three dozen arrests.
The operation known as “Behind the Mask” was an undercover operation that targeted the demand for child sex crimes and human trafficking. Throughout the operational period, undercover detectives placed ads on websites commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts. The suspects reportedly solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested.
The Tempe Police Department routinely conducts operations of this type in a continuous effort to reduce the demand that fuels child sex trafficking and exploitation of children in our community. The suspects in this operation ranged in age from 20 to 64. The following suspects solicited various sex acts and were arrested.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
All defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move.
HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.