More than 80 arrested in Cook, Lake county prostitution stings
Cook County sheriff's and Arlington Heights police combined to make 75 arrests of suspected prostitution customers during a monthlong national law enforcement effort, authorities announced Wednesday.
Lake County sheriff's police also made eight arrests as part of the 16th National Johns Suppression Initiative, which ran from July 25 through Sunday and involved 24 law enforcement agencies in 12 states. In all, at least 473 suspects were arrested during the initiative.
Ten other individuals face charges related to attempting to sexually assault a minor, six were charged with trafficking-related offenses and 11 juveniles were recovered, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
Cook County and Arlington Heights authorities did not immediately release the identifies of those arrested.
In Lake County, those charged with misdemeanor solicitation of a sexual act were: Alexis Torres, 47, of the 1000 block of Merton Avenue in Waukegan; David Brown, 45, of the 6200 block of 12th Avenue, Kenosha, Wisconsin; Efren Renedo, 18, of the 3000 block of West Grandville Avenue, Waukegan; Jaime Gonzalez, 21, of the 1200 block of Witchwood Court, Round Lake Beach; Purnell Caradine, 39, of the 12800 block of 71st Street, Kenosha; Randall Nesst, 59, of the 3500 block of South McIntosh Lane, New Berlin, Wisconsin; Scott Walker, 27, of the 10200 block of West Pickford Avenue, Beach Park; and Andrew Desmedt, 44, of the 900 block of Goodwin Drive, Park Ridge.
Desmedt also was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, both felonies, according to the Lake County sheriff's office.
All the men were arrested on the 4100 block of Fountain Square Place in Waukegan, authorities said.
The campaign did provide some reason for optimism in the fight against online sex trafficking.
A bot deployed to measure the level of potential trafficking taking place across several emerging "escort service" websites in five locations, including Chicago, found that decoy ads attracted just three inquiries per ad.
In January, similar ads on backpage.com in those same cities drew an average of 17 inquiries per ad. Backpage was shuttered by federal authorities in April, and its executives are facing money laundering and trafficking-related charges.
"Of course, the days of sex trafficking are not behind us and countless victims and perpetrators remain," Dart said. "We must remain vigilant, continue to reach victims and work to hold offenders accountable for the harm they cause."