The above text exchange was among the least graphic of the chats, which became increasingly lurid as the suspects made their intentions clear over the course of the several-hours operation on Wednesday, Dec. A Garden Grove PD detective uses a laptop to communicate with sexual predators looking to hook up with a minor female who actually is a cop pretending to be a year-old girl living in a motel.
In the reality TV series, host Chris Hansen confronted suspects who came to homes to meet with a decoy under the pretense of engaging in sex. After Hansen confronted them and grilled them, the suspects were arrested once they left the homes.
Similarly, the GGPD operation involved officers and federal agents who were ready to arrest any suspect who showed up at the motel after making it clear that their intention was to have sex with a person they believed to be After a trial operation in August that led to one arrest, the GGPD was ready to go again with its second operation of the year.
Well over a dozen law enforcement officers were involved in the Dec. Garden Grove PD detectives, including Pete Garcia left and Lea Kovacs back to camerasit in a motel room as they use cell phones, tablets and laptops to communicate with predators looking to have sex with who they think is a year-old girl.
The faces of the other participants in the sting were blotted out at their request. The goal: share information and resources to apprehend those who hurt children, as well as educate parents, law enforcement and the public to raise awareness about the dangers children face on the Internet and how to reduce those risks.
Around 1 p. Speaking in the briefing room of GGPD headquarters, he described how officers and agents would use two rooms at a Garden Grove motel. Another nearby room would be used by Det. Kovacs to chat with the suspects. Garden Grove PD Det. Lea Kovacs chats with a potential sexual hookup while posing as a minor.
There would be other officers around the motel on foot and in undercover vehicles. Garcia noted that men who usually meet minors for sex have a high chance of bringing weapons with them, and told the officers and agents to be on high alert. The pretense of the operation was a year-old girl was living at the motel and her mother was away and she wanted male companionship. Once suspects started communicating with the girl on chat apps, detectives and other law enforcement officials would try to find information about the suspects based on what they told the supposed year-old.
At first, typically, the suspects would be suspicious about whether the year-old they thought they were chatting with was real. The decoy held up a bottle of Gatorade to partially obscure her face, stuck out her tongue and took a selfie.
Kovacs then texted the picture to the suspect, who seemed satisfied she was real. Kovacs brushed off the suggestion as ridiculous and remained quiet for a while. Soon, the suspect d texting her and started becoming increasingly explicit in what sexual acts he wanted to engage in with her.
For example, Kovacs — pretending to be the year-old — could not bring up the idea of having sex, Taghavi said.
Once the suspect did, however, it was fair game, and she could be just as explicit as the suspects were in their sexual banter. Suspect Robert Phan, who Garden Grove Police say came to the motel looking to have sex with a year-old girl, is told to keep his hands behind his head as officers take him into custody.
During the operation, Kovacs at one point was engaging in conversations with three men.
One requested a picture of her favorite underwear. Another asked her if she was a virgin.
One man in particular, a year-old from Garden Grove, seemed especially eager to carry out the sordid — and criminal — rendezvous. Suspect Robert Phan, 31, of Garden Grove, is taken into custody.
He told Kovacs he had a break between two jobs and wanted to drive the girl around in his truck and have sex. Immediately after he backed into a space facing the room the girl said she was staying in, he was surrounded by units.
Officers trained their weapons on him as he slowly got out of the car. Robert Phan, from Garden Grove, was wearing a gray long-sleeve shirt, baggy gym pants and tennis shoes. Officers also found Phan to be in possession of a condom and a can of Mountain Dew. Later during the operation, at around p.
Like Phan, Pedro Espino, 21, of Tustin was arrested and booked on suspicion of soliciting a sexual act from a minor. After the operation ended that night, a third suspect, Yashas Behtoteh, 38, of Irvine, continued to text and chat with Kovacs through the following morning. Bex said the GGPD plans to run at least two more similar stings in Behind the Badge.
GGPD booking photo. Pedro Espino. Yashas Behtoteh.
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