Cheyenne, WY

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Cheyenne is a city in Southeastern Wyoming of approximately 65,000 residents. In addition to being the state capital of Wyoming, it is also the largest city and county seat of Laramie County, WY. The city is positioned at the intersection of two major interstate highways (80 and 25). Instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the city since at least the late 1800s. Numerous cases of illicit massage businesses (IMBs) operating in the city have also been reported. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in 2016, the first web-based reverse sting operation was conducted in the city. Officers from the Cheyenne Police Department, in partnership with the FBI, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office, conducted a web-based sting targeting both prostituted people and sex buyers, that resulted in the fifteen individuals, nine of which were male sex buyers. During the investigation, which reportedly took a year to prepare and deploy, law enforcement posted (and responded to) online advertisements suggesting prostitution and arranged to meet the individuals who replied at an undisclosed hotel. The suspects were taken into custody after making an offer of money in exchange for commercial sex acts. The offenders’ identities, ages, and arrest photos were publicized by local media outlets. A second web-based reverse sting was conducted in October of 2016, as a part of the FBI’s 10th annual Operation Cross Country – an internationally coordinated law enforcement effort to recover victims of child sex trafficking. The operation resulted in the arrest of six male sex buyers (four sex buyers were residents of Wyoming and two sex buyers were from out of state). In January of 2017, an additional multi-jurisdictional collaborative operation focused on sex trafficking resulted in the arrest of six male sex buyers, whose identities were released to news outlets. In February of 2018, the Cheyenne Police Department made several arrests during a human trafficking operation in an undisclosed location. The operation led to seven total arrests, five of which were alleged male sex buyers. The sex buyer’s identities were released to news outlets.

Sex buyers have also been apprehended by law enforcement officials as the result of alternative investigations, brothel raids, and residential tips to police. For example, in 2009, a Burns man was arrested on charges of felony soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations and misdemeanor soliciting prostitution. According to reports, the offender approached the boys and offered to exchange money for sexual acts, the boys refused, and it was reported to police.

Employment loss is also a consequence of buying sex that occurs in the city. For example, during the FBI’s 10th annual Operation Cross County in 2016, a former teacher was arrested on one count of solicitating prostitution. According to reports, the sex buyer had been employed at Cheyenne’s East High School as a science teacher since 1999. The Laramie County School District 1 Superintendent confirmed the offender’s departure: “He is no longer working for the school district. He did not return to work after the arrest.” In 2017, the offender pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution and was sentenced to 61 days in jail, but was accredited for already serving one day. 60 other days were suspended in favor of 6 months of unsupervised probation.

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Operation Cross Country:

Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned from Employment Due to Arrest:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Wyoming
Type City
Population 65051
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