|IT Based Tactics||✓|
The City of Longmont is a home rule municipality of approximately 100,000 residents, located in Boulder County and Weld County Colorado. Longmont is located northeast of the county seat of Boulder, CO, near Greeley, CO, and 33 miles north-northwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, CO. Several high-profile cases of business-based prostitution have been reported in the community in the last decade. This activity and its ancillary crimes has generated complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. According to police, drugs, violence against individuals engaging in commercial sex, child abuse/endangerment, and child sex abuse material are common offenses that occur concurrently in prostitution and sex trafficking cases in the area. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
Among their efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex, local law enforcement have staged at operations targeting sex buyers in the Longmont area. In June 2014, detectives from nearby Boulder, with the support of the Longmont Police Department and Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, arranged to meet a 24-year-old man who “was willing to pay for sex with a fictitious 12-year-old girl” in the parking lot of a Longmont restaurant. Undercover officers posted a decoy advertisement online wherein they “posed as the mother of a 12-year-old girl who was willing to sell her daughter for sex.” When the male sex buyer arrived at the Longmont location, he was arrested by police. Following the sting, the offender’s identity, age, and arrest photo were publicized by local media outlets.
In February 2015, law enforcement conducted a similar web-based reverse sting operation that focused on arrested individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. Officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation, assisted by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado State Police, 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 sexually exploiting the fictitious minor girls in exchange for money, 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. At that time, undercover officers intercepted three additional male sex buyers in a motel in nearby Greeley using similar tactics. All five of the offender’s names, ages, and arrest photos were distributed to the public in early March 2015. When asked about the operation by the Greeley Tribune, a HSI representative commented:
“Had it not been for this law enforcement sting, we’re confident all five of these suspects would have responded to advertisements in which real children were being trafficked for sex. In less than 24 hours, these people were coming out of the woodwork to pay to have sex with children.”
A Weld County Sheriff’s Office spokesman added:
“These are not young children in some far off place. These are our children at our bus stops, our truck stops and our motels that are sold for sexual encounters. “
Sex buyers and sex traffickers have also been arrested as a result of alternative investigations and/or through residential complaints to local law enforcement. For example, in July 2018, a Longmont man accused of using a social networking site to locate minors to sexually exploit in exchange for money, was formally charged with six felonies, including human trafficking of a minor — sexual servitude; pandering of a child — arrange prostitution; inducement of child prostitution; solicitation of child prostitution; engaging in and patronizing child prostitution; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Due to the offender’s previous conviction for attempted solicitation of child prostitution following a 2017 arrest in Jefferson County, the defendant was also facing a sentence enhancer as a habitual sex offender against children. The Colorado State Patrol’s task force officer with the FBI Denver Division’s Rocky Mountain Safe Streets and Innocence Lost Task Force, began the investigation on Nov. 7, 2017. On that day, a high-risk runaway from Adams County was found in Longmont during a medical call for a possible overdose, but Longmont police also believed she may have been sexually assaulted. Before the incident, the 15-year-old girl had met a man through a cell phone app, and they agreed to meet so he could give her vodka and a cigarette. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation completed the analysis of the DNA provided from the sexual assault exam and found that it matched the DNA profile of the defendant in the Colorado Offender Database. The man had previously been arrested in June 2017, after meeting an officer posing as a 14-year-old girl for sex, but later in the interview he admitted to using it a few times after he was out on bond. The sex acts occurred in his car, the women’s residences or hotels in Longmont, Thornton, Brighton, Denver, and in Jefferson County.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Boulder Police Arrest 24-Year-Old in Child Prostitution, Sex Assault Sting,” Boulder Daily Camera, June 19 2014.
- “5 Arrested in Child Prostitution Sting,” NBC/KUSA-TV 9, March 17 2015.
- “Longmont Man Arrested for Soliciting Child Prostitution,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, March 17 2015.
- “Weld County Deputies Participate in Operation Predator Sting; Five Suspects Arrested for Soliciting Child Prostitution,” Greeley Tribune, March 17 2015.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.timescall.com/news/crime/longmont-man-underage-girls-sex-prostitution (2018)
- https://www.denverpost.com/2018/07/10/longmont-child-sex-trafficking/ (2018)
- https://www.longmontleader.com/local-news/longmont-police-part-of-multi-agency-effort-to-bring-down-human-trafficking-suspect (2022)
Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, and Child Endangerment:
- “Longmont Masseuse Accused of Prostitution,” Boulder Daily Camera, August 23 2003.
- “Sex-Slave Underworld; Korean Women Seek New Life in U.S., End up in Colo. Brothels,” Rocky Mountain News, November 22 2003.
- “Police Raid Suspected Prostitution Business,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, November 23 2006.
- “Police Make Arrest at Spa,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, December 8 2006.
- “Spa May Be Cover for Asian Brothel,” Boulder Daily Camera, December 9 2006.
- “Spa Closes after 3 Raids,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, May 2 2007.
- “‘Madam’ Gets Fine, Deferred Sentence; Sue Blizard Admits to Running Brothel in Longmont,” Boulder Daily Camera, May 18 2007.
- “Yong Gates Pleads Guilty to Structuring Prostitution Proceeds,” Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, December 17 2008.
- “11 Suspected Brothels Shut Down,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, May 7 2009.
- “Longmont Brothel Caught in Sting, Investigators Say Statewide Prostitution Ring Mostly in Denver,” Boulder Daily Camera, May 7 2009.
- https://www.coloradodaily.com/2009/07/31/ag-longmont-brothel-caught-in-statewide-sting/ (2009)
- “May,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, December 27 2009.
- “Prostitution Cases on Way in Court,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, January 21 2010.
- Police raid regional massage businesses (2013)
- “Longmont, Fort Collins Police Investigate Suspected Prostitution at Massage Businesses,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, April 11 2013.
- “Longmont Couple Arrested, Suspected of Prostitution Ring,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, June 18 2013.
- “Police Notes: Man Offered Woman $10 for Prostitution,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, October 4 2013.
- “Mother of 7 Ran Prostitution Business out of Home, Longmont Police Say,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, November 21 2014.
- Mother accused of running prostitution business out of home (2014)
- Longmont mom accused of prostitution while kids were home (2014)
- Mom accused of running prostitution business (2014)
- “Longmont Police Suspect There Are Other Child Sex Assault Victims,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, April 15 2014.
- “Mom Arrested on Prostitution Charges,” Denver Post, November 22 2014.
- “Longmont Police Notes: Aurora Woman Arrested with Meth, Prostitution Business Card,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, February 16 2015.
- https://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/26/longmont-massage-parlor-suspected-prostitution/ (2017)
- https://www.timescall.com/2020/07/02/longmont-police-looking-into-other-possible-victims-of-child-sex-assault-suspect (2020)
- https://kdvr.com/news/longmont-police-suspect-human-trafficker-solicitor-of-child-prostitution/ (2022)
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