Operation Spotlight results in the arrest of 12 suspected child sex predators in New Jersey

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“The danger is not in our backyards,” Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. "It's in our houses."

 

That press conference announced that during an online sting operation called "Operation Spotlight," law enforcement arrested 12 men for attempting to engage suspected children in sex.

 

"Although 12 online child predators have been arrested, parents must learn the apps that their children are using and the inherent dangers within,” Robertson stated.  U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito cautioned that the current circumstances keeping children at home and dependent upon using their electronic devices so much has "unfortunately created a Petri dish of problems."

 

“Our children and their online safety is the utmost concern to us at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office,” Robertson said. "Social media apps allow predators into our homes and as law enforcement, we must do what we can to make it a safer environment. We hope that this operation will continue to be eye-opening for parents."  He stressed the importance of them remaining "especially vigilant."

 

While their press release did not disclose what applications were used by the officers in the sting, Carpenito stated that his own daughters, ages 10 and 12 used some of the very programs.

 

Officers established profiles on those applications posing as boys and girls ages 13 and 14.  Then, Robertson said, "They just sit and wait."

 

The 12 arrests were made between October 15 and 18 as the men arrived at one of three pre-arranged meeting points within Somerset County.

 

Electronic devices confiscated during the arrests are being reviewed to see if there were previous children contacted which could result in additional charges.

 

Those arrested during the sting are:

  • Kyle C. Saludes, 34, of Jersey City, a HVAC technician; second-degree attempted luring, third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, third-degree possession of CDS (Alprazolam), third-degree possession of CDS (MDMA), possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Quentin Anthony Blount, 28, of Easton, Pennsylvania, a distribution warehouse employee in Pennsylvania; second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Digant R. Patel, 46, of Warren, a vice president of a financial institution; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Tyler R. Mineo, 27, of Bound Brook, employed with a local supermarket; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Christopher Matamoros-Rojas, 26, of Hillsborough, unemployed; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Alexander Castillo-Velasquez, 34, of Bound Brook, a self-employed handy man; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Jesus Modesto-Sanchez, 29, of New York City, employed at a professional financial firm in New York City; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, second-degree attempt to manufacture child pornography and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Benjamin S. Burke, 27, of Darien, Connecticut, a software engineer; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Cristian Medina, 34, of Raritan Borough, a restoration technician; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Ryan S. Lee, 35, of Trenton, a warehouse employee; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Daviti R. Robakidze, 27, of Bound Brook, a retail worker; second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Kevin M. Curcio, 27, of North Brunswick, a warehouse employee; second-degree degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third- degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

 

If convicted of a second-degree offense, they are subject to a minimum five-year prison sentence.

 

"This is just the beginning," Carpenito said in vowing that law enforcement would continue to take online crimes such as these "very seriously."

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