PHOENIX, Ariz. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Phoenix office recently partnered with multiple law enforcement agencies to include the Phoenix Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Tempe Police Department, Chandler Police Department and the Arizona Attorney General’s office to identify and arrest alleged sexual predators. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is also prosecuting those arrested.
Operation Silent Predator was an undercover operation targeting the demand for child sex crimes and human trafficking. Throughout the operational period, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and apps which are commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children. 26 suspects were identified for soliciting and/or brokering deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested.
“The staggering number of arrests in this operation is the culmination of collaborative efforts between our agents and local law enforcement agencies,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “These cases are never easy, however, there is some satisfaction in seeing justice served for these alleged predators as they go before the judicial process to answer for their crimes.”
Each year, these agencies come together to conduct operations of this type in a continuous effort to reduce the demand that fuels child and human sex trafficking from our communities. The suspects in the latest operation ranged in age from 21 to 69 years old.
The combined efforts of the agencies involved, are part of a nationwide effort to eliminate human and sex trafficking.
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.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.