McLennan County Sheriff’s Office announces arrests of 17 ‘perverts’ during human trafficking sting
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, July 7, announced the arrest of more than a dozen individuals in a human trafficking sting that took place over a 10-day period in June.
Sheriff Parnell McNamara said the work of undercover deputies with his human trafficking unit led to the arrest of 17 “perverts.”
Two individuals will be charged with online solicitation of a minor. Another two will be charged with prostitution of a minor, the sheriff said.
One of the suspects snared in the sting, Joshua DeWitt, was arrested in Wisconsin and is awaiting extradition to McLennan County, McNamara said. The sheriff said DeWitt has been linked to 20 victims.
“We’re doing everything that we can to stop it. Can we stop it all? Absolutely not, but we’re going to stop all that we possibly can,” McNamara said.
The sheriff’s office on Friday revealed it has so-called “catfish” accounts on several social media platforms that are used by undercover deputies who pretend to be an underage child, an investigator said.
The catfish accounts place sex advertisements, and they usually start getting responses within 10 minutes, an investigator said.
During the interaction, the undercover deputy will tell the person soliciting sex that the account belongs to a minor.
“They (the suspects) will continue the conversation, turning it sexual and wanting to meet for sex,” said Detective Joe Scaramucci.
PHOTO GALLERY: Jail booking photos
The following individuals were charged with solicitation of prostitution of a minor:
- David Denson, 37
- Christopher Mercer, 41
The following individuals were charged with solicitation of a minor:
The following individuals were charged with solicitation of prostitution:
- Lance Webb, 46
- Jacob Pifer, 28
- Joseph Fontaine, 59
- Alfred Dupree, 42
- James Connolly, 42
- Raymond Rowley, 48
- Ethan Prawiro, 22
- Shane Meyer, 44 (also charged with evading arrest in a motor vehicle)
- Evan McConnell, 29
- Michael Kasberg, 66
- Joshua Porsche, 25
- Danny Coffman, 42
- Sergio Hernandez, 26
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