The 10-year-old federal initiative known as Operation Cross Country expanded to include international enforcement actions this year – and Fort Bend County.
Led by the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, the three-day operation attacked both the supply and demand of juvenile prostitution and child exploitation in the Greater Houston area, including Fort Bend County.
Fort Bend authorities rescued four juveniles plus one adult out of the 82 juveniles recovered nationally and abroad. Out of the 239 arrests reported by the FBI, nine suspects were arrested locally on charges ranging from prostitution and promotion of prostitution to attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child. One man showed up at a local motel with his one-year-old son after soliciting an undercover officer over the Internet, seeking to have sex with the undercover officer’s 8-year-old child. The man also wanted the officer to engage in sexual intercourse with his 1-year-old son. After the suspect was arrested, that child plus a 6-year-old sibling was rescued from the man’s home.
Law enforcement officers from the Meadows Place Police Department, Missouri City Police Department, Stafford Police Department, Sugar Land Police Department, Katy Independent School District Police Department, Houston Police Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office and two task forces conducted the Fort Bend County operation.
“The Meadows Place and Stafford police departments were instrumental in making this operation happen and I want to extend my thanks to them,” said lead DA Investigator Bruce Moats, who is also a member of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. “The Tri-City Special Investigations Unit, HPD Vice/Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force all played vital roles in this initiative.”
“Coordinating a multi-agency response locally is challenging enough, but nationally, and even internationally, is another thing entirely,” said Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey. “I am proud of the local effort and the success achieved by these dedicated public servants.”