5 Arrested in Colorado Child Prostitution Case
Five men ranging from the age of 19 to 57 were taken into custody by Weld County officials, part of a multi-agency sting operation coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security. Posing as the mother of two girls, aged 11 and 14, an undercover agent placed ads saying that her daughters were available to have sex in exchange for cash. She also exchanged text messages with the men.
Affidavits for the case state that the men traveled to local hotel rooms, expecting to meet either one or both of the girls. They were arrested on the scene.
One of the men, Amis Cody Brownell, age 34, had an active felony warrant for theft in neighboring Larimer County. Officers also found two grams of methamphetamine in Brownell's vehicle when they took him into custody. He faces an additional charge for unlawful possession.
This case, and others like it, raises an uneasy question about the purpose of multi-agency cybercrime sting operations. The vast majority of men apprehended by such operations have no existing criminal record. Yet every once in a while, the sting nets someone with warrants for another arrest or finds incriminating evidence on the suspect's person or in his vehicle.
Some civil libertarians wonder whether cybercrime sting operations are casting a deliberately wide net in order to find criminals outside their intended scope. They fear that these operations may serve to erode defendants' rights and could lead to cases in which individuals receive disproportionately long sentences for their crimes.
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