Portland police frequently resort to undercover operations to identify and capture persons suspected of engaging in the sale of illicit drugs. The undercover operations give police the chance to gather evidence against suspected drug dealers. In a recent sting in Portland, seven men were captured and accused of various crimes involving sexual exploitation of minors.
The suspects and the sting
According to the Washington County Sheriff’s office, the suspects ranged in age from 19 to 29. The group included the music minister at St. Pius X Parish in Portland.
Police said that investigators posed as underage boys and girls on several dating sites and other social media sites. The agents posted profiles indicating an interest in meeting for sexual activity. The suspects usually contacted the undercover person and arranged a time and place for a meeting. When the suspect appeared for the meeting, he was arrested and taken into custody.
The minister, aged 29, was the oldest suspect arrested. The other suspects ranged in age from 19 to 27.
According to the police, all suspects were charged with the felony crimes of luring a minor for the purpose of sexual activity and online sexual corruption of a minor in the first degree. The priest was terminated by his church and given a conditional pre-trial release. According to a sheriff’s deputy, the priest must avoid contact with minors, refrain from using electronic devices to access the Internet and abide by other standard conditions, such as keeping the court advised of his address and avoiding the use of alcohol and illegal drugs and dangerous or illegal weapons.
The charges that the seven suspects face are very serious. Conviction may mean a significant period of incarceration, a large monetary fine, and restrictions on types and places of future employment. A strong legal defense may help you if you are facing a similar situation.