Nine men are facing charges in South Dakota after allegedly planning to have sex with children, who were really undercover agents posing as underage victims.
The federal agents chatted with the suspects on websites and apps and eventually planned in-person meetups. They then arrested the men who showed up at the meeting spots.
The annual, undercover sting is conducted during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, but the suspects aren’t always rally-goers. Agents have posed as adults and children, male and female. Agents sometimes tell the suspects they need to pay the adult, child or a trafficker for the sex.
The arrests were announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Dakota and further accusations can be found in affidavits.
Eight of the suspects are from the Black Hills and charged with Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet. One of them is an Airman First Class at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
The ninth suspect is a New York man charged with Attempted Commercial Sex Trafficking of a Minor for allegedly providing $250 to the victim.
The men face up to life in prison if convicted. The Attempted Enticement charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison while the Attempted Trafficking one has a 15-year mandatory minimum.
The men will be tried by a federal prosecutor in Rapid City.