Greeley, 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

Greeley is a city of approximately 109,000 residents in north-central Colorado. It is the largest city and county seat in Weld County, CO. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and in the greater county area. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in an increase in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. In recent years, residents and law enforcement officials have reported a shift in the commercial sex market as the majority of prostitution and related activities are now being conducted online rather than on the streets. Specifically, residents and law enforcement officials have noted an increase in online ads for commercial sex on websites like and Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are child endangerment, robbery, homicide of individuals involved in the commercial sex industry, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and the commercial sexual exploitation of at-risk minors. For example, in May 2014, the City of Greeley drew national attention when officers from the GPD fatally shot a sex buyer during a reverse sting operation. According to police reports, officers placed a decoy advertisement of an undercover female officer on a website known for commercial sex, communicated with suspected sex buyers who had responded to the ad, and arranged to meet at a local hotel. As a result of the operation, four male sex buyers were arrested and a fifth male sex buyer was shot and killed after “brandishing a handgun while a team of uniformed officers attempted to arrest him.” The identities of all five men were released to the public.

When asked about the GPD’s increased drive to reduce prostitution in the community, the Police Chief stated:

“It’s not just prostitution. It’s abuse of women and girls. It’s theft. It’s credit card fraud. It’s drug abuse. It’s a whole wide variety of crimes. Prostitution is not a victimless crime. People are hurt by it… I’m not foolish enough to think that we’ll stamp out prostitution in Greeley. I’m not crazy. But our goal is to make it harder to operate. If you’re not quite sure if the person you’re dealing with is a cop, you might not go through with it.”

In effort to reduce demand for commercial sex in the area, the Greeley Police Department has implemented demand reduction tactics such as both street-level and web-based reverse sting operations and identity disclosure. Some of these operations specifically target individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. For example, in February 2015, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation officials, assisted by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Police, conducted a web-based reverse sting operation targeting individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. Officers placed a decoy online advertisement that purported to be a mother offering sex with her 11- and 14-year-old daughters in exchange for money. Within 24 hours of placing the listing, two men responded to express interest in paying for sex with the fictitious minor girls, and arranged to meet the undercover officer in a Longmont motel parking lot. Both men were arrested after arriving at the location. Law enforcement then “paused” their investigation due to inclement weather, re-launching it again in early March. During the same investigation, undercover officers intercepted three additional sex buyers at a motel in Greeley using the same tactics. All five of the offender’s names, ages, and arrest photos were distributed to the public in early March 2015.

In July 2021, eleven men were arrested in Greeley on charges related to the sexual exploitation of children. Operation “Greeley Predators” was executed in correlation with the influx of visitors for the Greeley Stampede event. The suspects had all responded to decoy ads placed on websites commonly perused by suspects seeking illegal commercial sex acts. The identities and images of arrested sex buyers were included in reports by local media outlets. The Greeley Police Department partnered with Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Colorado Bureau of Investigations, Colorado State Patrol, and the Windsor Police Department to conduct the two-day online operation.

Sex buyers and sex traffickers have also been arrested as the result of alternative investigations and residential tips to local law enforcement. For example, in December 2016, a male sex buyer called police to report a theft at his house. He told officers that he contacted the prostituted woman online after he found her on for commercial sex. According to the sex buyer, the woman asked him to shower and, not trusting her, he told police that the had set up his smartphone to record her. Court records say the footage showed the robbery. In 2018, the sex buyer was convicted of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution and sentenced to 10 hours of community service and nine months of probation. The woman pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to 40 days in jail. The identity and image of the sex buyer was included in reports.

In 2018, a 35-year-old Greeley man was arrested on six felonies charges for the commercial sexual exploitation of multiple minors living in foster care – one of whom had a developmental disability – for two years. According to reports, police initially learned about the case after the victim with a developmental disability disclosed the sexual assault to her teacher, after arriving late to school that day in February 2016. The girl reportedly told police that other girls in her former foster home “were having sex for money.” The warrant states that she had previously been in a foster home with a number of other girls, but a Greeley woman later took over as her custodian. Officers then spoke with other girls who had been at the foster home where one of the girls spoke about a man she knew as ‘Squid’ or ‘Squidward,’ whom she met in early 2015, and who bought her “shoes, alcohol and other things in exchange for her having sex with him.” Upon further investigation, police discovered the true identity of the man, who police confirmed was the same man who had sexually exploited the girl with a developmental disability. In June 2016, police responded to a call from the North Colorado Medical Center to speak with a girl who claimed the same man had raped her after she attempted to severe contact with him. After confirming a DNA match, police arrested the man on five counts of patronizing a prostituted child, and one count of sexual assault on an at-risk person.

Loss of employment is also a consequence of buying sex in the city. For example, in 1977, the Director of the Weld County Ambulance Service was charged with prostitution and soliciting prostitution after allegedly soliciting a 15-year-old boy for sex acts. According to reports, as a result of the investigation, the offender resigned from his position at the Weld County Ambulance Service.

In 2015, a Greeley high school teacher and pastor was arrested during a web-based operation targeting individuals seeking to purchase commercial sex online. According to reports, the man was one of eight male sex buyers arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute and soliciting. He was teacher at Greeley Central High School and pastor at First United Methodist Church in Pierce, CO. As a result of his arrest, the school placed the offender on paid administrative leave and denied to renew his contract for the following school year.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure, Community Service:

Employment Loss, Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Child Endangerment:

State Colorado
Type City
Population 108795
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