A coordinated law enforcement operation netted 32 individuals accused of crimes against children around Wichita, Kansas between May 17 and June 2.
“I am extremely proud of all of the special agents, analysts, and officers whose hard work and dedication made this operation a success,” said HSI acting Special Agent in Charge R. Sean Fitzgerald in a statement. “Our joint commitment to protecting children has removed these 32 dangerous individuals from our streets and hopefully sends a clear message to others looking to harm children.”
Operation Blue Ghost consisted of two phases, according to a Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency statement released June 6.
Phase one, conducted May 17-19, targeted adults willing to travel to Wichita for the sexual exploitation of a child. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Wichita and Wichita Police Department officers arrested 17 individuals for crimes related to aggravated human trafficking, promoting prostitution and the purchase of commercial sex acts.
Phase two, conducted May 31-June 2, targeted adults willing to travel to other parts of Missouri to sexually exploit a child. HSI Kansas City continued Operation Blue Ghost in and around Independence, Clay County, and Platte County, Missouri.
HSI Kansas City, Clay County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Platte County Sheriff’s Office, Independence Police Department officers, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troopers, and the Bourbon County Kansas Sheriff’s Office coordinated efforts to arrest suspects.
During the second phase, 15 additional individuals were arrested for crimes related to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, according to the ICE statement. They faced other charges including enticement of a minor, sexual trafficking of a child, furnishing pornographic material to minors, sexual exploitation of a minor, promoting prostitution, aggravated human trafficking, sex trafficking, obscenity and morals offenses, felony assault on a law enforcement officer, felony evading, felony property damage, attempted statutory sodomy and attempted statutory rape second-degree.