In an effort to combat sexual predators in Arizona, authorities announced on Monday that nine individuals were apprehended for various crimes during a recent undercover operation involving multiple agencies in Phoenix.
The Tucson Police Department reported that a joint effort between federal, state, and local agencies in the Tucson and Phoenix regions was conducted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.
According to reports, the accused individuals had made plans through the internet to meet children between the ages of 7 and 16 for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities. However, it was later discovered that they were actually communicating with undercover law enforcement officers.
Police reported the group of men, with ages ranging from 25 to 49, were apprehended without any trouble upon their arrival for the meetings in Tucson.
A number of individuals were taken into custody and placed in Pima County Jail for multiple felony offenses, such as enticing a minor for the purpose of sexual exploitation, intensifying the enticement of a minor for sexual exploitation, trafficking a child for sexual purposes, attempting sexual conduct with a minor, and soliciting sexual conduct with a minor.
The operation was conducted with the collaboration of police departments from Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, Chandler, Tempe, and Phoenix, as well as the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Pima County Attorney’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, and U.S. Marshals Service.
The Zero Abuse Project, a non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting against child sexual abuse, also took part in the event.