Aurora police arrest 8 in Internet sting offering minors for sex

Eight men have been charged in an online sting in which Aurora police officers posted escort ads supposedly from female minors for paid sex and then arrested the men as they showed up at a local hotel.

“We're just going after sexual deviants who are targeting minor children,” said Aurora Police Sgt. Alfredo Dean, a 20-year department veteran who worked the six-week operation. “We're not doing anything to target specific age groups. We're just dealing with what comes to us. It's all walks of life, all ages.”

In the sting, undercover officers placed Internet ads offering sexual services for money, authorities said.

When the defendants texted the phone number listed, it was made clear the sex would involve girls younger than 18.

Undercover officers also posed as adults who were offering the sexual services of the minors.

“The human trafficking of children is deplorable and has absolutely no place in a civilized society,” Police Chief Greg Thomas said in a statement. “We will continue to work tirelessly with law enforcement at all levels to eradicate this disgusting behavior and do everything we can to protect our children.”

The Aurora Police's Special Operations Group worked with agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

Aurora police have conducted Internet stings and reverse prostitution busts before, said spokesman Dan Ferrelli.

“It was a natural progression that we began to more closely investigate these types of crimes,” he said.

Each of the eight men arrested faces felony charges of involuntary sexual servitude of a minor, traveling to meet a minor and grooming.

The most severe charge carries a prison term of six to 30 years.

The following are who was arrested, their bond status and when they are due in court. Their defense attorneys could not be reached or did not have any comment.

• Nabeel Afsar, 21, of the 1300 block of Santa Anna Drive, Hanover Park. He is free on bond, is being monitored by a GPS device and due in court Feb. 27.

• Andres Alonzo, 22, of the 900 block of Gates Street, Aurora. He was being held at the Kane County jail on $500,000 bail and due in court Feb. 11.

• Josh T. Archer, 32, of the 1500 block of Simms Street, Aurora. He is free on GPS bond and due in court Feb. 6.

• Mark P. Gaciarz, 32, of the 3700 block of North Octavio Street, Chicago. He is free on GPS bond and his next court date has not been set.

• Shane R. Lewis, 35, of the 500 block of North Mill Road, Kennet Square, Pennsylvania. He is free on GPS bond and due in court Friday. Dean said Lewis was in Illinois for his job at the time of the sting.

• Juan Morales, 26, of the 10500 block of South Avenue L, Chicago. He is free on GPS bond and due in court Feb. 11.

• Ruryk Michel, 38, of the 500 block of Hidden Creek Lane, North Aurora. He is free on GPS bond and due in court on Feb. 19.

• Eric F. Ziemba, 40, of the 700 block of Wimor Drive, Oswego. He is free on GPS bond and due in court Jan. 22.

The arrests were made Dec. 2 and 23, 2014, and Jan. 8, according to court records.

“Predators will use any means available — including classified ads on the Internet — to victimize innocent children for their perverse gratification,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations Chicago office.

Andres Alonzo
Josh T. Archer
Marek P. Gaciarz
Shane R. Lewis
Juan Morales
Ruryk Michel
Eric F. Ziemba
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