Edwardsville, IL

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

Edwardsville is a city of about 25,000 residents in southwestern Illinois. It is the county seat of Madison County and a suburb northeast of St. Louis. Prostitution has been documented in the city, resulting in complaints to law enforcement. For example, in September 2017 a man was arrested in Florissant and charged with armed robbery after an incident at an Edwardsville hotel in which the man and an accomplice stole $260 from a woman in prostitution at gunpoint.

Edwardsville Police have assisted in web-based reverse stings in the county. In June 2020, fourteen people were arrested in Madison County after a web-based sting targeting online predators caught them trying to engage in sex with minors. The two-day operation was led by the FBI-Springfield Division and involved multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the FBI St. Louis Division, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Belleville Police Department, Collinsville Police Department, Edwardsville Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville Police Department, St. Louis County Police Department, Swansea Police Department, and U.S. Secret Service. Undercover agents, pretending to be minors, were contacted by the defendants on various online texting, social media, and message board platforms and apps. Defendants engaged in sexually explicit discussions with the undercover agents and then arrived at a residence intending to engage in sexual acts with minors, which is where they were arrested. Some (although not all) of the people arrested in this sting offered to pay money to engage in sexual activity with a minor. In addition, some of the defendants propositioned the undercover agents to send them sexually explicit photos or traveled across state lines for the purpose of illicit sexual activity with a minor. The men’s charges included attempted enticement of a minor, interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted production of child pornography (i.e., child sexual abuse material), and attempted sex trafficking of a child. The names and ages of the fourteen defendants were released to the public.

In June 2021, an Edwardsville man was among six Illinois and Missouri men arrested for attempting to engage in sexual activity with minors following an online operation led by the FBI. The sting, conducted in the Southern District of Illinois, targeted men who used the internet to entice minors to engage in sex, including some men who offered to pay for sex. The men’s charges included attempted enticement of a minor, traveling across state lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and attempted commercial sex trafficking of a child. Their identities were released to the press. The investigation was led by the FBI-Springfield Division with assistance from Edwardsville Police, Collinsville Police, Alton Police, the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Police Department, the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office, FBI-St. Louis, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Illinois State Police, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and the Carlyle Police Department.

Key Partners

  • Edwardsville Police Department
  •  FBI
    • Springfield Division
    • St. Louis Division
  • U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations
  • Belleville Police Department
  • Collinsville Police Department
  • Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Illinois State Police
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Police Department
  • St. Louis County Police Department
  • Swansea Police Department
  • United States Secret Service
  • United States Marshals Service
  • Alton Police Department
  • Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office
  • Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office
  • Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office
  • Carlyle Police Department
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois
State Illinois
Type City
Population 25332
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