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FBI arrests 14 people in metro east for attempting to have sexual relations with minors

During the two-day operation, FBI agents pretended to be minors through texting, social media and message boards
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Flag of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the rusty background. Concept photo

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — The FBI has charged 14 people for attempting to engage in sexual activity with minors in the metro east.

In an undercover operation, the FBI said 14 men have been charged after attempting to meet minors for sex online. 

During the two-day operation, FBI agents pretended to be minors through texting, social media and message boards. The defendants contact the fake profiles online, engaged in sexually explicit communications with agents and arrived at a house with the intent to engage in sexual acts with what they thought were minors.

Some of the defendants traveled across state lines, asked for pornographic pictures of the fake minors, and offered to pay for sexual activity with a minor. All of the defendants were arrested when they showed up to the house, and some arrived with alcohol, sex toys, condoms, methamphetamine, and in one case, a dog leash and dog collar with the name of the fake profile engraved on it.

Here is a list of those charged:

Brett Brimberry - 28 - Glen Carbon: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Richard L. Britt - 38 - Granite City: Attempted Enticement of a Minor; Interstate Travel to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct

Urich Gaines - 32 - Belleville: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Kayln E. Hogatt - 27 - Bridgeport: Attempted Enticement of a Minor; Attempted Production of Child Pornography

Kevin Kamler - 30 - O’Fallon, Missouri: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Brian Lotz - 56 - Collinsville: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Anthony Parrish - 33 - Swansea: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Philip M. Reis - 55 - O’Fallon: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Gerald S. Sewell- 56- Belleville: Attempted Enticement of a Minor; Interstate Travel to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct

James R. Sears - 35 - Bridgeport: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Travis Shubert - 29 - Granite City: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Preston Thomas- 57 - St. Louis: Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Nicholas Wright - 35 - O’Fallon, Missouri: Attempted Enticement of a Minor; Interstate Travel to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct; Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child

Vallie F. Zeller - 43 - St. Louis: Attempted Enticement of a Minor; Interstate Travel to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct; Attempted Production of Child Pornography

All of the defendants are slated to appear in court between June 29 and July 1 in Madison, Illinois. If convicted, the defendants face a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, to a possible life sentence.

“Instead of lurking on playgrounds, modern predators hide behind electronic devices using social media and texting apps to access young children.” United States attorney Steven Weinhoeft said, “Serious dangers are no further away than a child’s cell phone or tablet, and we strongly urge parents to monitor their children’s online activity, be aware of who their children are talking with, and have conversations about how to stay safe online.”

No actual minors were harmed in the investigation.

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