Anderson underage prostitution sting nets 3 predators
ANDERSON — Three men, including two Redding residents, were arrested after showing up at a rented Anderson home where they believed they were meeting with a teenage girl to engage in sexual activity. The arrests were made during a two-day, multi-agency undercover operation over the weekend, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19.
According to officials, one of the Redding men offered to provide housing and protection in exchange for the teen’s ongoing sexual services, and a Texas man offered his pimping, photography and “management” services to the “girl”, who was actually an undercover officer posing as a 15 or 16-year-old runaway.
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The multi-agency operation, which was conducted “to target human trafficking”, was hosted by members of Anderson Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Team and assisted by members of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Shasta County DA’s Office, Shasta County Probation, and the Shasta County Marshall’s Office.
“During this operation undercover agents targeted would-be predators seeking sex with underage females,” Anderson PD explained in a social media release after the successful operation.
“Officers created an ad on several websites frequently used in the prostitution/escort community, posing as a young female prostitute,” APD explained. “When prospective customers began communicating with the undercover officers the officers would tell them that she was a fifteen or sixteen year-old female.”
“While this turned off many of the people who contacted the undercover officer, there (were) three who didn’t seem to mind,” APD continued in their release.
Three “would-be” predators, including Keith Hoppes, 61, and Yao Liew, 42, both from Redding, as well as Christopher Henderson, 36, of Missouri, Texas, were arrested during an Anderson sting that targeted men seeking sex with underage girls. Two of the men, Hoppes and Henderson, offered their pimping and protection services to the undercover officer they believed was a teenage girl. Anderson PD photos
The two-day operation resulted in the arrest of the three men, all of whom “negotiated a specific price with the undercover officer and agreed to meet at a local residence … to engage in sexual activities,” department officials explained.
According to APD, all three men drove to the designated meeting location “showing undercover officers their intentions to follow through with the agreed upon sexual activity” with the person they believed was a runaway teenage girl.
One of those arrested was Keith Hoppes, 61, of Redding. According to officials, not only did Hoppes arrange a meeting to pay for the person he believed was a 15-year-old runaway’s sexual services, during their conversations he offered to take the young girl home with him, where she could perform her prostitution business inside his residence. He also offered to provide her with housing, protection and transportation.
Hoppes was booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of pandering, arranging a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes, and arriving at a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes.
Next arrested was Yao Liew, 42, also of Redding, “who became a subject of interest after negotiating a specific dollar amount for the sexual services of a believed 15-year-old female,” explained APD.
Liew, who did not want to go with officers peacefully, was arrested after arriving at the designated meeting location and later booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of arranging a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes, arriving at a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes, causing harmful material to be sent from a minor, and resisting arrest.
Christopher Henderson, 36, of Missouri, Texas, was also arrested after showing up at the rented home where the undercover operation was conducted.
Officials say that prior to driving to the residence, Henderson negotiated a “business agreement” with the person he believed was a 16-year-old girl.
During conversations with the undercover officer posing as the teenage runaway, Henderson offered “to design and manage a prostitution website in exchange for the minor’s sexual services and a portion of her future profits,” APD explained. “Henderson also arranged a meeting to exchange his photography services for the minor’s sexual services.”
Henderson was booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of pandering, arranging a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes, and arriving at a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes.
After the operation, Anderson PD officials used the opportunity to remind its community that “prostitution is not a victimless crime, but an illegal sex trade that victimizes juveniles across the world. Most prostitutes are known to become trapped in this illegal sex trade while they are still well under the age of 18.”
Underage runaways – both boys and girls – are considered to be at exceptionally high risk to those seeking to victimize them in the world-wide sex trade industry, according to Opal Singleton, President and CEO of Million Kids. SIngleton serves as the Training and Outreach Coordinator for the Riverside County Anti Human Trafficking Task Force and authored the book “Seduced: The Grooming of America’s Teenagers“.
“It is believed that one of six youth who run away will be victims of human trafficking within the first 48 hours,” Singleton recently told SCNS.
“The most vulnerable targets for predators are foster kids, homeless kids, runaway kids, and pregnant teens,” Singleton continued. “However, any young person that is connecting with a stranger through social media can easily be recruited by a predator.”
To continue its ongoing fight against human trafficking and child prostitution, Anderson PD has said they and their partner agencies “will continue to conduct these operations to bring awareness to the reality behind prostitution and its traffickers.”
From Opal Singleton: 80% of sex trafficking victims involve recruitment, grooming or advertising through social media. Many predators use apps,live streaming, chat rooms, and online game chat rooms, to access, groom and recruit their victims, Million Kids President and CEO told SCNS.
Social media is the perfect relationship incubator. Predators historically will only give a young person four or five pieces of information and the Internet environment is such that the young person makes up their own fantasy,” Singleton continued.
“It does not take long for the young person to begin to believe it is true love and they start to want to sneak out and meet up with their new found love. All to often, by the time they are in the car and realize they have been duped, it is too late.”
“It is really important for families to seek counseling for themselves and their young people if they believe the youth is in a online fantasy relationship,” advised Singleton. “When a parent gets in a tug of war with a fantasy relationship, they will lose unless the entire family seeks counseling.”
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Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.