Potosi, MO

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

Potosi is a city of about 3,000 residents and is the county seat of Washington County, Missouri. The city is located roughly 72 miles southwest of St. Louis. Child sex trafficking and related child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) have been documented in the city. At least one sex buyer arrest has occurred locally, and employment loss has been a consequence of sex buying in the city.

In April 2023, a former Potosi police officer appeared in federal court to face charges of sex trafficking, solicitation of child pornography (i.e., child sexual abuse materials), and coercion and enticement of a minor. The man was arrested and indicted in March. Between January and August of 2022, the man allegedly enticed or solicited three minors into engaging in a commercial sex act, solicited a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and attempted to persuade a minor to engage in sexual acts. Prosecutors said the man met the victims through his work as a police officer and committed the sex acts while on duty or in uniform. He gave vape cartridges to one minor in exchange for CSAM, paid another via CashApp to not reveal sexual abuse, and sexually abused a third minor. The sex trafficking and coercion charges were each punishable by a minimum of 10 years up to life in prison. The solicitation of child pornography charge carried a minimum of five years up to life in prison. The charges were also punishable by a fine of up to $250,000. The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated the case. The man’s identity was released to the press. He resigned from the Potosi Police Department in August after the department’s chief received a report of misconduct, less than a week before the man’s arrest.

Key Partners

  • Missouri State Highway Patrol
  • Potosi Police Department
State Missouri
Type City
Population 2526
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