The Pearland Police Department recently conducted an online sting, designated as operation "Back to School," in an effort to identify and arrest suspects engaged in the online sexual exploitation of juveniles. The operation resulted in the arrest of sixteen (16) adult male suspects and was conducted in conjunction with the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (HMICAC).
In this type of crime, suspects use various internet sites to make contact with juvenile victims and then attempt to lure them to meet for the purpose of sexual activity. During "Back to School," trained investigators posed as minors while online and identified suspects who sought to meet children for sexual purposes. When the suspects arrived for the meeting with the minor child, they were met instead by officers of the Pearland Police Department who arrested them.
Similar operations have been waged by HMICAC, most recently in Ft. Bend County, Galveston County, and Harris County. Task force members for this operation included representatives of the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, Galveston Police Department, Harris County Constable Precinct 1, Houston Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations - Galveston, Jones Creek Marshal's Office, Pearland Police Department and Webster Police Department. The Task Force is an example of inter-agency cooperation and the results that can be achieved when agencies pool their resources to combat a societal foe.
The following sixteen suspects were arrested and charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor - 2nd Degree Felony. The penalty for a second degree penalty is 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. All were transported to the Pearland Police Department detention facility and will face charges in Brazoria County.