Glenwood Springs, CO

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

Glenwood Springs is a resort city in northwestern Colorado, known for its hot springs. It is the government seat of Garfield County and has a population of approximately 10,000 residents. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city, surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Garfield County. This activity and its ancillary crimes have generated complaints to local law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. Glenwood Springs has a history of involvement in large scale regional, statewide, and international sex trafficking and prostitution networks. For example, in 2012, a 70-count indictment charged four individuals with taking underage girls to hotels in Denver, Boulder, Lakewood, Grand Junction, and Glenwood Springs to be sexually exploited in exchange for money. In 2018, a Colorado grand jury indicted two individuals, a man and woman, for allegedly transporting two juveniles in July 2017 to a hotel in Glenwood Springs and sexually exploiting the children in exchange for money. According to reports, the offenders posted ads of the juveniles on websites known for commercial sex and provided hotel rooms where respondents would meet and sexually exploit the victims in exchange for money. The female offender was charged with 10 felony counts, including trafficking a minor for sexual servitude and procurement of a child, keeping a place of child prostitution, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The male offender was charged on eight counts.

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. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Glenwood Springs Police Department has been known to conduct reverse sting operations. For example, in September 2019, the GSPD participated in a web-based sting operation led by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office that resulted in the arrest of eight men on charges of soliciting child prostitution (i.e., child sex trafficking). The identities and images of arrested offenders were included in reports by local media outlets.

In addition to reverse sting operations, local law enforcement has also apprehended sex buyers through alternative investigations. For example, in 2018, the GSPD conducted an investigation into a suspected child sex trafficking operation in the city, that resulted in the arrest of four individuals on child sex trafficking charges. Upon further investigation, police found that the Director of Information Services in the town of Vail, CO was also involved in the child sex trafficking operation and had sexually exploited minors in exchange for money. He was arrested and charged with four felony counts, including soliciting for child prostitution, pandering of a child, patronizing a prostituted child, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In addition, he was terminated from employment in the town of Vail. A plea deal made in 2019 allowed the offender to avoid jail time if he registered as a sex offender and agreed to five years of probation. As the result of an internal investigation into the offender after the former Director of Information Services’ initial arrest in 2018, he was rearrested in 2020 for numerous counts, including embezzlement, official misconduct, and cybercrimes for allegedly stealing $854,915 between 2012 and 2018. Prosecutors for the Fifth Judicial District (which includes Eagle County) alleged that the offender had used his position as Vail’s IT director to steer inflated contracts to companies controlled by a long-time friend. Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum said the two men were involved in a “billing and invoicing scheme where their own personal companies were set up to really accept the money from one to the other and ultimately into their own personal bank accounts.” The arrest affidavit additionally alleged that the offender had used the stolen funds to pay his defense attorneys for the 2018 prostitution case in neighboring Garfield County, as well as to pay his taxes, school tuition, cars for his daughters, and even to buy a car for a prostituted woman. More than a month after being released from jail on bond, the offender cut off a GPS monitoring device issued to him and eventually fled to Maricopa County. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office stopped a car on the morning of November 21, 2020 because officers suspected the offender and a homeowner possibly providing shelter to him were in it. After being stopped by sheriff’s deputies, the offender shot and killed himself at a juncture. According to reports, investigations into the offender’s death and flight from Colorado were ongoing. Police did not release details about the other person involved in the traffic stop.

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrests: 

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Colorado
Type City
Population 10326
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