The Latest (Saturday, April 17):
In a release Saturday, the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office said that the operation led to a total of 94 arrests and citations.
Officials said 23 arrests were for suspected child sex predators, two for suspected human trafficking, four for suspected pimping/pandering, 16 for suspected prostitution, 19 for suspected solicitation, six for suspected possession of a firearm, along with “18 for out-of-compliance sex offenders and 4 for traffic citations.”
Original story below.
LATHROP, Calif. (KTXL) — Behind keyboards, phones and tablets, dozens of undercover officers have been working to catch potential predators.
“We’ve arrested more in this operation than we ever have,” Lathrop Police Services Chief Ryan Biedermann.
Since Monday, Biedermann says more than a hundred officers from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have been conducting an undercover sex-sting operation across San Joaquin County.
“We’re coming together to kind of like attack everything related to sex crimes and kids,” Biedermann said.
Investigators posted ads, some pretending to be underage on different social media sites.
“Out of the thousands and thousands of conversations that we’ve had over this week, you know we’re catching the really bad ones,” Biedermann said. “The ones that are really eager, those are the ones we want to get.”
In all, nearly 70 arrests were made for a range of sex crimes from pimping and solicitation to human trafficking.
Officers also recovered five guns.
“They’re cops, but they’re playing the victim. And every one of them here would rather play the victim than actually have to go take a report of an actual victim being victimized,” Biedermann said.
Biedermann and an undercover officer say this operation is proof of the danger of lurking online.
“Unfortunately, we don’t catch all of them,” said the undercover officer.
“Obviously, it’s pervasive because we catch, we catch more every time we do it,” Biedermann said. “You would think it would be a dip, but it’s not.”
Investigators say they want people to know they’ll continue to do these types of operations to keep the community safe.
“To give them peace of mind, to know that when they go out or when they let their kids go out, that they don’t have to worry about them,” said the undercover officer.