Authorities in Michigan have arrested 22 people as part of a child sex sting operation that targeted people soliciting sex with children.
Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell announced the arrests Sunday and says they were believed to be targeting children for sexual purposes in Genesee County. He says some live in the county and others are from Saginaw, Shiawassee, Oakland, Wayne, Lapeer, and Tuscola counties.
Pickell wrote in a Facebook post about the arrests that the investigation is “a sobering reminder that we must be more vigilant than ever protecting our children.”
The investigation involved the newly formed Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team, or GHOST.
Pickell says the team also arrested a person suspected of sexually assaulting a 2-year-old and another accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old.
The task force officers posed as 14-year-old boys and girls and had digital conversations with the suspects, agreeing to meet at hotels and motels rooms where the suspects were arrested.
Among the suspects that the sheriff singled out: John Barrows, 71, a Flint financial adviser, who Pickell said was “well respected in the community;” Carl Spradlin, 59, a Comerica Bank senior vice president in charge of compliance; and George Huffman III, 42, a truck driver and a candidate for U.S. Senate.
Huffman ran in the 2012 election for Michigan House of Representatives District 102. He was defeated by Brendan P. Maturen in the Democratic primary on August 7.
In two cases, Pickell said, the suspects were pimping out and having sex with their own young children.
In addition to Genesee County, the suspects — all accused of sex crimes involving children — were from Saginaw, Shiawassee, Oakland, Wayne, Lapeer, and Tuscola counties.
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