Two Colorado Springs men caught in undercover investigation into online child prostitution | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – A joint operation to take down individuals who prey upon juveniles resulted in two men being arrested in Colorado Springs.

On Aug. 30 and Aug. 31, the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Metro Vice Unit arrested 58-year-old Joseph Barela and 35-year-old Siaosi Siologa.

According to court documents, CSPD’s Metro Vice Unit partnered with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to conduct an undercover operation for online predators. During that, investigators “offered” a fake 16-year-old boy to individuals to see if they’d solicit and meet the teen to pay money for a sexual act. The ad was posted on Aug. 31.

The “advertisement” was posted on Locanto; investigators noted it was a “popular prostitution website.” The ad was posted on Aug. 31. It said the teen was looking for an “experienced daddy” and posted the age being 19 – the youngest age that was able to be posted.

That same day, investigators received a message from someone who identified himself as Kevin, however, the affidavit states it was later determined it was Siologa.

According to the affidavit, Siologa requested to meet, thinking he was speaking to the teen and not an undercover cop. After receiving the “rates” for the “teen,” Siologa requested a photo of the teen. He was given a photo of a young-looking male, shirtless, and in only a towel.

Siologa was told the teen was alone in a hotel room with his mom, but that his mom would leave soon. During that exchange, Siologa was told the teen was 16, almost 17. According to the affidavit, Siologa continued pursuing the interaction despite knowing the teen was underage.

During the day, the affidavit notes Siologa exchanged sexually explicit messages with the “teen.”

At 10 p.m., Siologa arrived at the hotel. He was quickly placed in custody. According to the affidavit, Siologa claimed he was there to meet a friend, then admitted he was lying, but said he was there to meet with a 17-year-old boy. However, he claimed he “did not have intentions of doing anything” with the boy and “intended to tell the male to stop what he was doing when he arrived at the hotel.

Also on Aug. 31, CSPD’s Metro Vice Unit and HIS posted an undercover advertisement on the popular prostitution website “Skip the Games.” This time, the ad was for a 16-year-old girl saying she was “petite and ready to please.” The age provided on the ad was the youngest age that was able to be posted, 19.

Later that day, detectives received a message from a man later identified as Barela. The message asked when the teen could meet with him. According to the affidavit, Barela was told the teen was 16. He responded by saying “I thought she is 19” but then messaged again asking for the address.

During the exchange, Barela asked again the age of the person and who he was meeting. He was told the messenger’s “stepdaughter” was for sale. Barela then asked to meet the messenger’s stepdaughter and received an address.

When he got to the hotel, the affidavit states Barela spoke with an undercover detective who confirmed the price. He was then given a hotel key and was told the teen was in the room. After going inside, Barela was contacted by police and placed in custody.

During a Mirandized interview, Barela claimed he took the day off and wanted to talk to someone. He admitted to using the website Skip the Games and was there to meet a female for a “Quick Visit,” a term used in prostitution, and was set to pay $100. When asked if he knew the age of the “teen,” Barela admitted he was told she was 16. He went on to admit he “made a mistake” but that “it was in the back of his mind that he was going to have sex.”

The two men were charged with soliciting for child prostitution, a class three felony.

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