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Charges advance against sex-sting suspect

Judge reduces bail for man accused of soliciting a minor
District Judge Suzanne Carlson allowed prosecution to proceed against Timur Urunov, 30, who has been charged with two counts in connection with a child predator sex sting conducted in April by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Durango. Carlson also agreed to reduce Urunov’s bail from $100,000 to $50,000.

A judge on Tuesday found sufficient evidence to allow prosecutors to proceed with two charges against a man arrested in connection with a child predator sex sting conducted in April by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Durango.

Undercover audio and video recordings were played Tuesday in 6th Judicial District Court as part of a preliminary hearing for Timur Urunov, 30, who was arrested April 26.

Urunov is charged with attempted patronizing a child prostitute and soliciting for child prostitution.

The sex sting was conducted April 25-27 in Durango. Up to 35 people worked the operation, including law enforcement from the Durango Police Department and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.

The sting netted seven arrests.

Text messages exchanged between Urunov and undercover agents indicate Urunov responded to a personal ad posted on Backpage.com. The ad, titled, “pretty young blossoms (3 smiley faces) - 19,” read: “Hey guys! Krissy here!!! Looking for very open minded no b.s. gentlemen for some fun in Durango!!!! We know how to please!!!! Text for details.”

The ad indicates it is a 19-year-old woman, but once Urunov responded, he was propositioned to have sex with one or two girls, ages 11 and 14.

At first, Urunov declines, saying he is 30 years old and that is too young, but he then agrees to pay $125 for an hour of sex with the 14-year-old, according to testimony.

Believing he was talking to the girls’ mom, Urunov agreed to go to Albertsons for an initial meeting before driving a short distance to Durango Lodge, where he would exchange money and have sex with a minor.

Video and audio surveillance taken by law enforcement at the Durango Lodge parking lot show Urunov paying $140 and expressing nervousness about having sex with an underage girl. He paid $15 more than the agreed upon price, apparently as a tip or because he thought the “mother” needed the extra money, according to testimony.

Urunov, who arrived with condoms, then followed the woman toward the hotel and was arrested in the parking lot.

His Durango defense attorneys, David Greenberg and Ingrid Alt, argued that Urunov responded to a personal ad purportedly posted by someone of legal age. Urunov’s first language is Russian, and at first he asked for an older girl, but a language barrier prevented law enforcement from understanding him and Urunov from understanding them, Alt said. (Russian interpreters participated in Tuesday’s preliminary hearing.)

What’s more, there is no evidence that a minor played any role in the sex sting. Alt argued that Colorado statue requires a child be involved as an element of the offense charged.

Deputy District Attorney Justin Fay disagreed, saying child solicitation occurs when a person arranges to have sex with a minor; it doesn’t matter if there’s an actual child involved.

District Judge Suzanne Carlson seemed to agree, allowing the prosecution to move forward with its charges.

Carlson also agreed to reduce Urunov’s bail from $100,000 to $50,000. If he makes bail, he must surrender his passport, submit to GPS monitoring, and can’t be around children.


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