Several men have been arrested in a recent sting by the Genesee County Sheriff’s GHOST team.
All of the men went to a location to meet up with 13 to 15-year-old children for the sole purpose of having sex with them, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said during a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 23.
“These people are the ones who live among us, all walks of life,” Swanson said.
The following suspects have been arraigned: Kevin Maxwell, Michael White, Wardell Hodo, Jeremy Studt, Christopher Roberts, Tyler Hazel, Nathan Blatt, and Eston Rubart
The final suspect fled to India shortly after the operation, Swanson said.
“These people are not your local criminals. These people are those who live among us,” Swanson said. “People you would never expect.”
Swanson said the suspects' professions range from HVAC worker to college student. Some of them seemed to be living a double life.
"One social media site he's celebrating his kids and a family. On another social media site he's sending pornographic videos to a 14-year-old," Swanson said.
The suspects ranging in age from 21 to 43 were all arrested during sweeps in November and December.
"One guy came after he dropped off his hockey score cards because he's a hockey coach. One said his date fell through, he's working one mile away and he'll be there. Another one tried to arrange to have oral sex with a 13-year-old and her mother," Swanson said.
The sheriff said GHOST is there to expose and hold those accountable.
“When you stop a pedophile, there are dozens of potential victims who are saved because of that, because they won’t stop,” Swanson said.
Swanson said human trafficking is everywhere.
“If you have a town with a light and a hotel, you have human trafficking,” Swanson said. “It’s in everybody’s community.”
He had a message for would-be predators.
"If you have a problem with this, seek help before your life gets ruined," Swanson said.