GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A law enforcement sting operation targeting adults who prey on children in northeastern Wisconsin has netted 19 arrests.
Authorities say several men are in custody on possible charges of child enticement, trafficking a child and use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. The three-day sting involved about 75 officers from at least seven agencies who posted an ad on Craigslist.com.
It didn't take long before the responses started rolling in, investigators said.
"Show me what you look like," one person demanded in response to an ad by "Jenny," who was actually a Brown County deputy. Jenny's ad indicated she was about 14. Another person emailed a photograph of a shirtless man flexing in response to an ad that referred to twin 15-year-old girls, Press-Gazette Media reported.
Arrests announced Monday included a 40-year-old school bus driver from Shawano County who sought a meeting for sex with a deputy he believed was a 15-year-old girl. The man communicated with the deputy by text, email and telephone, officials said.
Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright said he does not believe the man had sexual contact with students from the school district where he worked, but the investigation continued.
A man arrested in Ashwaubenon had two pairs of handcuffs and a gagging device on him when he was arrested, police said. And a 51-year-old Green Bay man thought he had arranged a meeting with a 15-year-old girl at a gas station in Howard, but instead had talked to a Door County sheriff's deputy.
"It's how much can we do to get to these guys first, before they get to a child," said Brown County Forensic Lt. James Valley, who coordinated the operation. "There are probably 55,000 kids in this county. Everyone with a computer, everyone with a smartphone is a potential victim."