IRON COUNTY – Seven men are behind bars after investigators say they traveled to Paragonah to attempt to have sex with an underage girl.
The Parowan Police Department, Utah Highway Patrol, The Iron County Sheriff’s Office and officials with Homeland Security teamed up for the sting. They set out ads in social media sites using certain slang that people looking for underage sex would understand. “One of the websites we started with was Craig’s List,” says Parowan Police Chief Ken Carpenter.
The callers weren’t dealing with the “teen” directly. Carpenter says they were dealing with a confidential informant who was pretending to set up the arrangement. “Most of that initial consultation was done through text message and personal phone calls,” he says.
Through those messages, Carpenter says they could tell each of the suspects knew exactly what they were trying to buy. He adds, “Each one of them knew fully, coming into our operation, that what they were asking for was to have sex with a 13-year old.”
The suspects include five men from Utah, one from Idaho and one from California who drove to Iron County to meet up with the girl. Carpenter says they hope these arrests send a strong message to child traffickers to stay out of their town. He says, “To me, these are some of the worst predators that are on the street.”
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