WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) — The Wake Forest Police Department arrested six men in connection with a sting operation targeting child sex predators and human traffickers, the department said Thursday.
The suspects were arrested as part of a multi-jurisdictional sting operation on Tuesday and Wednesday that involved undercover officers and agents posing as juveniles and traffickers. Police said the suspects solicited the agents for sex and other purposes and were taken into custody at various meeting points throughout Wake Forest.
Police arrested and charged Esteban Javier Alvarez-Medina, 47, of Fuquay-Varina, Frank Ferlo Jr., 60, of Raleigh, Calixto Gomez-Carreno, 43 of Garner, Jason Malone Lartigue, 42 of Rolesville, Anwar Antuan Overby, 40, of Durham, and Amadeo Vargas-Varela, 49 of Raleigh.
Officials said one of the reasons child sex crimes and human trafficking are on the rise is because predators now have access to their victims via home computers and cell phones.
Vargas-Varela, Lartigue, Gomez-Carreno and Alvarez-Medina were all charged with solicit prostitution minor. Ferlo was charged with solicit by computer/appear, and Overby was charged with attempted first-degree statutory rape.
Police are urging parents to stay vigilant by keeping track of what their children are doing on and offline and by asking questions. Parents can also use apps designed to monitor computer use.
The FBI Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking Unit (CACHTU), Wake County District Attorney’s Office, and Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the operation.