BendBend Police arrest 28 in 4-month online human trafficking sting

Bend Police arrest 28 in 4-month online human trafficking sting

Bend Police arrest 28 in 4-month online human trafficking sting

Bend Police Patch

Bend Police have announced the arrests of 20 people, most of whom are from Central Oregon, following a four-month human trafficking sting. Eight other people were arrested for soliciting prostitution.

The following is a press release from Bend Police in which they also are asking anyone who may have been a potential victim to contact them. We’re working on getting more information.

Over several months, Bend Police conducted a project dedicated to combating human trafficking, sex work and luring of minors, with an emphasis on identifying and arresting people who are attempting to meet underage children for sex. Over the course of this project, 20 adults were arrested for various crimes associated with attempting to lure and engage in sexual acts with minors.

Bend Police officers posted ads online, then posed as minors in both text and phone conversations. Over the course of the project, people at more than 200 distinct phone numbers answered officers’ ads. Many of those people, upon learning they were apparently communicating with a minor, immediately cut off communication. However, of the 200-plus people who answered Bend Police’s online ads and learned of a minor child being trafficked for sex, not one subsequently shared that information with law enforcement.

Police clearly identified themselves as underage. Those arrested then agreed to meet, sometimes bringing drugs and alcohol to the agreed-upon location. Upon arrival, they were taken into custody on the above charges and lodged at the Deschutes County Jail.

During the course of the project, multiple people came forward and identified themselves as victims of sexual abuse at the hands of these suspects. Bend Police are asking the public to contact nonemergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 if you or someone you know is the victim of any of these suspects.

Arrested

    • Mathieu Ackah, 46-year-old Oxnard, Calif., resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct
    • Christopher Arroway, 30-year-old Bend resident: purchasing sex with a minor, patronizing a prostitute, attempted rape III (arrest #2)
    • Gage Bergeron, 31-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted rape III, delivery of a controlled substance to a minor (marijuana)
    • David Burnham, 73-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III
    • Forrest Dodge, 28-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor
    • Cody Fortune, 32-year-old Bend resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted rape III
    • Ryan Frye, 23-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor
    • Rene Hernandez, 28-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor, parole violation, endangering the welfare of a minor
    • Joshua Huddleston, 45-year-old Bend resident: attempted rape III, attempted delivery of a controlled substance to a minor (marijuana)
    • James Kapsalis, 26-year-old Redmond resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted rape III, delivery of marijuana to a minor
    • Miles Leffler, 40-year-old Sisters resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor
    • Devin Linker, 34-year-old Redmond resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, online sexual corruption of a child I, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, patronizing a prostitute
    • Ian McCord, 38-year-old Prineville resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted sodomy III, attempted rape III
    • Jorge Beltran Mendoza, 29-year-old Redmond resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, online sexual corruption of a child I, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted sodomy III, patronizing a prostitute
    • Waynerd Montgomery, 47-year-old Redmond resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, escape III, criminal mischief III, resisting arrest
    • Jacob Schneider, 36-year-old Bend resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, online sexual corruption of a child I, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, patronizing a prostitute
    • Connor Strupith, 22-year-old Redmond resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted furnishing liquor to a minor
    • Isaac Testerman, 41-year-old Bend resident: purchasing sex with a minor, patronizing a prostitute, attempted rape III
    • Eduardo Vega-Ruiz, 22-year-old Madras resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, escape III, attempt to elude (felony), attempted assault on a public safety officer, reckless driving
    • Dylan Zook, 20-year-old La Pine resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor

Bend Police want our community to know we are proactively investigating these crimes. We will continue to conduct projects like this in the future. This outreach will also let potential predators know our community is vigilant. Our goal is to identify traffickers and prevent this activity from taking place in our community. During the operation, Bend Police saw a significant decrease for demand in sex work in our community, and by extension, a decrease in sex workers operating in our community.

Bend Police would also like to remind parents, guardians and caregivers to stay involved in their children’s digital world, know the apps they are using and implement parental controls when possible. Children should talk with a trusted adult so they understand online risks, only chat with people they know, and make sure their online accounts are private. There are people who target vulnerable youth via online apps and other internet sources, and we have to work together to keep our children safe. 

During the course of this investigation, Bend Police also arrested eight people who attempted to patronize adult sex workers. They were cited and released. Patronizing a prostitute is a Class A misdemeanor. 

    • Benjamin Adams, 43-year-old Las Vegas, Nev., resident: patronizing a prostitute
    • Christopher Arroway, 30-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute (arrest #1) 
    • Dennis Dewitt, 71-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
    • Zachary Douglas, 33-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
    • Caleb Gump, 24-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
    • Thomas Myers, 38-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
    • Tenzin Norbu Sherpa, 37-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute
    • Casey Vitale, 36-year-old Lebanon resident: patronizing a prostitute
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