Fort Carson soldier among 7 men arrested for solicitation of child prostitution in Pueblo
PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- On June 11, the Pueblo Police Department began an undercover operation aimed at getting child predators off the streets.
Wednesday, PPD, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security, arrested seven men for solicitation of a child prostitute:
• Joseph C. Storrer, 25, Ordway CO
• David Griego, 27, Pueblo CO
• Christopher Heuston, 34, Salida CO
• Ritchie Mao Khov, 21, Ft. Carson CO
• John H. Mitchell, 54, Pueblo CO
• Errin S. Stewart, 44, Florissant CO
• Robert J. Smith, 73, Lamar CO
In the arrest affidavit obtained by KRDO, one of the men arrested was Ritchie Mao Khov, a Fort Carson Solider. According to the arrest affidavit, Khov exchanged several messages with officers disguised as someone facilitating child prostitution.
Khov asked, "Hey where are you," and then added, "can I see a pic of you." The disguised officers responded with, "I got two sweet things for you. One is 12 and the other is 14. Both girls are ready to party." Khov then asked, "What are the rates?"
According to court documents, Khov went on to ask about various pricing for sex with the underage girls. Khov agreed to meet at 10 p.m. that night in Pueblo. When Khov arrived, a $200 dollar cash transaction was made. The officer then called the number he was communicating with Khov on. The phone rang and confirmed his identity.
Khov was taken into custody shortly after. He was arrested for solicitation of a child prostitute, a class 3 felony.
"There is always predators looking for people to prey," Pueblo Police Sergeant Frank Ortega said. "If you are trying to have sex with an underage person that is a crime in and of itself. We are trying to build solid cases and part of building solid cases is the exchange of money and or other things."
Police say these types of operations are difficult to pull off. They need a physical location to meet people at and the offenders have to inquire about a service before police can make an arrest.
"Mainly online but obviously we need a physical location for them to meet us at, so we use various locations and various means to get them to commit the crime, to solicit a juvenile for sex," Ortega said. "We have to be careful with entrapment. That is the obvious legal defense that these gentlemen or people would try to use. We basically have to make it to where it's them engaging with us, it's them bringing up things they want to do, it's them making the move as far as this illegal activity."
All seven men arrested are looking at four to twelve years in prison if convicted.