Four men have been arrested in connection with an undercover operation where they allegedly sought to engage in sexual activities with minors.
According to a news release issued Tuesday by the Durango Police Department, law enforcement posted “generic advertisements to various electronic platforms” as part of the operation. The suspects responded to the postings and engaged in sexually explicit conversations with undercover officers, according to the release.
The suspects expressed interest in engaging in sexual activity with minors ranging in age from 12 to 14 years old, the release said.
Undercover officers then arranged face-to-face meetings to confirm the suspects’ intent to commit sexual acts with minors, the release said.
Those arrested include:
- Connor Elliot, 35, on suspicion of enticement of a child and internet luring of a child.
- Anthony Martinez, 34, on suspicion of internet luring of a child, enticement of a child and driving with a revoked drivers license.
- Dustin Ryan, 33, on suspicion of attempted solicitation for child prostitution.
- Kenjok Tenzing Bhotia, 31, on suspicion of human trafficking of a minor for attempted sexual servitude, attempted solicitation for child prostitution and criminal attempt.
The Durango Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office participated in the operation.
Adults who lure minors for sexual activity are typically well-versed in communicating with children, are able to speak their language in online forums and are adept at figuring out what minors want, said Brice Current, deputy chief with the Durango Police Department.
“It's just good for the parents to be educated to the realities of what their kids might be facing and the predators that are out there, because you can get online and within 10 minutes you'll have 50 people responding,” Current said.
Anyone wanting to report suspicious activity involving internet luring of a minor is encouraged to call Durango police dispatch at 385-2900.