OGDEN, Utah — Authorities in Weber County arrested at least 18 people after a sweeping sex trafficking operation.
Lt. Cortney Ryan with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said officers set up fake accounts online, and the people arrested are those who responded to the sex trafficking sting.
Sex trafficking in Weber County
He says the goal in these types of operations is to protect people, particularly younger victims forced into sex trafficking. But officials also hope to raise awareness about a taboo topic.
“Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that nobody likes to really talk about,” Ryan said. “That is the biggest target that we’re looking for, is to, you know, bring awareness that it is here, it is present. And we’re watching it. We’re paying attention to it and we won’t tolerate [sex trafficking] here in Weber County.”
Read more: How the FBI defines human trafficking
According to Ryan, the bust took place Dec. 22, 2020 at an undisclosed motel in the area. 17 men face multiple charges in the bust, including solicitation of prostitution. One woman faces prostitution charges.
Those arrested included:
- Zackary Patridge, 32, of Kaysville
- Todd Cordner, 58, of Brigham
- Andres Tenorio, 25, of West Haven
- Justin Bagshaw, 37, of Ogden
- Richard Parkinson, 42, of Syracuse
- Clint Costley, 47, of Plain City
- Cesar Bustamante, 32, of Destin, Florida
- Julio Cesar, 30, of Ogden
- Shane Arbogast, 39, of Layton
- Matthew Russon, 36, of Clearfield
- Stanley Bird, 59, of Hooper
- Daniel Avila, 38, of Ogden
- Troy Larson, 53, of Ogden
- Kaylee Minor, 32, of Pleasant View
- Gage Picard, 22, of Fruit Heights
- Angel Penaloza-Durate, 41, of Riverdale
- Brian Lillehaug, 29, of West Valley
- Jeffery Garcia, 57, of Roy
Ryan said parents should monitor what their kids do online, including with whom they interact, to guard against becoming victims. More information is available in the stories below.
Contributing: Mary Richards