National Sex Trafficking Sting Nets Over 630 Sex Buyers and Pimps/Traffickers, 70 Locally, 5 in Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights, Cook County Sheriff’s and Lake County Sheriff’s police made nearly 70 arrests of accused sex buyers in recent weeks as part of a prostitution sting operation involving more than 30 law enforcement agencies in 16 states.

The 15th National Johns Suppression Initiative, which took place from January 7, 2018 to February 4, 2018 led to almost 650 arrests across the country, including 18 on sex trafficking-related charges, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced Tuesday.

Dart’s office made 57 of those arrests, some of which came through joint operations with municipal police departments. Arlington Heights police made five arrests.

Arlington Heights Police conducted a sting at a motel in the area of Arlington Heights Road and Algonquin Road on January 25, 2018.

Arlington Heights police arrested five men on charges of solicitation of a sex act …

Joshua Brodsky, 39, of the 400 block of W. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights;

Randolph Zarecky, 60, of Long Grove;

Kevin Willing, 48, of the 200 block of Mayfair Lane, South Elgin;

Stephen Palanca, 30, of the 400 block of Glen Garry Road, Cary; and

Male Adult [Name Expunged in Cook County Circuit Court Records (June 17 2019)], age 25, Arlington Heights.

Nationally, the sting operation led to 638 sex solicitation arrests, 18 trafficking arrests, $755,490 in minimum possible fines, 12 adult trafficking victims recovered and three juvenile victims recovered, according to Sheriff Dart.

All the Lake County arrests occurred in the 4100 block of Fountain Square Place in Waukegan, according to the sheriff’s office. The Lake County Gang Task Force made seven arrests …

Evelio Marquez, 55, of the 1000 block of 67th Street, Kenosha;

Jeremy P. Hoen, 29, of the 2900 block of Dominion Lane, Lakemoor;

Luis Lopez-Arellano, 32, of the 42300 block of Delany Road, Zion;

Raymond Berger, 33, of the 21500 block of West Nielson Drive, Lake Villa;

Luis E. Cardenas, 48, of the 2600 block of Peppertree Lane, Waukegan;

Dionicio S. Pott, 37, of the 400 block of Hull Court, Waukegan; and

Elmer E. Rosales, 54, of the 700 block of Center Street, Waukegan.

All suspects are due in court on March 12, 2018 Lake County sheriff’s police reported.

“Investigating human trafficking is one of the top priorities of the Lake County Sheriff’s Gang Task Force,” Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said in an announcement of the arrests. “Prostitution often involves human trafficking and juvenile sex trafficking, which is exactly why we conduct these investigations.”

In an effort to target sex buyers and reduce sex trafficking, a national coalition of law enforcement agencies conducted coordinated sting operations that led to more than 630 arrests, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

The 15th National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI) operation ran from Jan. 7– Feb. 4 and included more than 30 law enforcement agencies across 16 states. In total, at least 638** sex buyers were arrested, 18 individuals face trafficking-related charges and 15 individuals were recovered and offered services. Law enforcement agencies in Cook County recorded 62 sex buyer arrests.

Additionally, in a national debut of such technology, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the organization Seattle Against Slavery to roll out its AI bot, Project Intercept, in six municipalities during the operation. Project Intercept posts ads online with phone numbers that connect to bots posing as trafficking victims. The bots, which have names such as Ariel, Brook and Cari, fluidly interact via text message with individuals seeking to buy sex.

During the interaction, the bot eventually sets a price for the service. After the price is agreed to, the bot sends a deterrence message letting the sex buyer know that soliciting sex is a crime. The deterrence message also directs potential buyers to websites with more information on the harms of soliciting sex.

In addition to Cook County, the bot was activated in Boston, King County (Seattle), Los Angeles County and Phoenix. In total, 9,114 potential sex buyers were engaged, with more than 60 percent of sex buyers reaching the deterrence message. The bot was also activated in Minneapolis for a full 24 hours on the day of Super Bowl LII and recorded the most interaction of the active cities that day, showing demand for sex remains high in municipalities near the Super Bowl.

“This incredible technology helps to further the work done by law enforcement to bring attention to the exploitive nature of the sex trafficking industry and reduce the demand for purchased sex that serves to perpetuate a cycle of violence, mental illness and drug addiction for victims,” said Sheriff Dart.

Since Sheriff Dart began NJSI operations in 2011, Cook County Sheriff’s Police and participating agencies from across the country have arrested more than 8,200 sex buyers. Cumulative numbers from the 15th NJSI operation are as follows:

638 sex solicitation arrests (sex buyers)
18 sex trafficking arrests
$755,490 in minimum possible fines
12 adult victims recovered
3 juveniles recovered

AGENCIES
Agencies who participated in the 15th NJSI* include:

Alabama
Tuscaloosa Police Department – 47 sex buyers arrested

Arizona
Phoenix Police Department – 311 sex buyers deterred (includes texts, calls and webpage re-directs to inform sex buyers of the illegal sex industry’s harmful impact), 13 sex buyers arrested

Mesa Police Department – 15 sex buyers arrested, 1 juvenile victim recovered by Glendale Police Department in Mesa.

Arkansas
Little Rock Police Department – 6 sex buyers arrested

California
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department – 66 sex buyers arrested – including 4 felony charges for pandering and human trafficking, 1 juvenile victim recovered

Oakland Police Department – 15 sex buyers arrested, 1 juvenile victim recovered

Georgia
Douglasville Police Department – 11 sex buyers arrested

Illinois
Cook County Sheriff’s Office – 57 sex buyers arrested; This includes joint operations with the Broadview Police Department (8 sex buyers arrested), Lansing Police Department (8 sex buyers arrested),

Matteson Police Department (16 sex buyers arrested) and Orland Hills Police Department (7 sex buyers arrested)

Arlington Heights Police Department – 5 sex buyers arrested

Lake County Gang Task Force – 7 sex buyers arrested

Rockford Police Department – 5 sex buyers arrested – operation also included the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI

Maryland
Howard County Police Department – 8 sex buyers arrested

Massachusetts
Boston Police Department – 6 sex buyers arrested, 3 pimp/sex trafficker arrested, 2 adult victims recovered

Burlington Police Department – 5 sex buyers arrested

Nebraska
Lincoln Police Department – 7 sex buyers arrested, 2 adult victims recovered

New York
New York Police Department – 62 sex buyers arrested

Nevada
Las Vegas Police Department – 23 sex buyers arrested

Reno Police Department – 7 sex buyers arrested

Ohio
Cincinnati Police Department – 2 sex buyers arrested

Oregon
Portland Police Department – 31 sex buyers arrested

Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Police Department – 17 sex buyers arrested

Upper Merion Township – 2 sex buyers arrested

Montgomery County Detective Bureau – 3 sex buyers arrested

Texas
Harris County Sheriff’s Office – 103 sex buyers arrested

Houston Police Department – 64 sex buyers arrested, 1 adult victims recovered

McLennan County Sheriff’s Office – 45 sex buyers arrested

Wisconsin
Brown County Sheriff’s Office – 4 sex buyers arrested