CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Sixteen men are facing charges after a Chesterfield County police sex sting operation.
Mike Louth, the head of department’s investigation bureau, said that detectives with the special victims unit posed as minors online and arranged to meet up with these men.
“Protection of the vulnerable is one of the priorities we have here in Chesterfield County,” he said.
It takes several weeks of preparation and resources to carry out this type of operation, according to Louth.
Detectives conducted the operation from March 31 to April 28.
The operation racked up a total of 31 charges, including solicitation of prostitution with a minor to using a vehicle to promote prostitution.
Most of the suspects live in Virginia, while one of the men lives as far as Georgia.
“Anyone that tries to prey upon a minor child or children in general you know surely that’s a very serious offense to us here and we want to make sure we hold people accountable that are trying to do that,” Louth said.
The department arrested dozens of other men during operations last year.
One of the suspects was a lead pastor in Virginia Beach and another was a VCU employee. Though some of the charges in previous operations were reduced or dropped, Louth said he’s confident in the detectives’ investigations.
“I feel very secure in the fact that there was more than enough probable cause to make those arrests,” Louth said.
Police are also warning families that predators are everywhere and could pretend to be anyone, so be sure to monitor your child’s social media accounts, like Snapchat and Kik.