Operation Black Veil: 16 Arrested in Internet Crimes Against Chi - WBAY

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Operation Black Veil: 16 Arrested in Internet Crimes Against Children Sting

Updated:
Northeast Wisconsin -

Sixteen people have been arrested across Wisconsin in one of the largest Internet Crimes Against Children stings in state history.

Half of the suspects are from our area, hailing from Brown, Outagamie and Shawano counties.

Authorities say each man was trying to meet a child for sex.

The State Department of Justice has released the names of the suspects and their charges:

  • Charles Zimmerman (DOB 3/19/1976), Arrested 3/12/2013 in Madison, Charged with Trafficking of a Child
  • Timothy M. Marking (DOB 7/15/1963), Arrested 3/12/2013 in Madison, Charged with Trafficking of a Child and Child Enticement
  • Matthew J. Micksch (DOB 7/17/1986), Arrested 3/12/2013 in Green Bay, Charged with Child Enticement
  • Benjamin W. Lahti (DOB 5/4/1988), Arrested 3/12/2013 in Minocqua, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime, Exposing a Child to Harmful Materials and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Marc S. Marion (DOB 7/13/1958), Arrested 3/13/2013 in Madison, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime
  • Jeremy W. Stegall (DOB 1/14/1984), Arrested 3/13/2013 in Madison, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime
  • William C. Ward (DOB 5/28/1985), Arrested 3/13/2012 in Green Bay, Charged with Trafficking of a Child
  • Phillip Waller (DOB 8/10/1976), Arrested 3/13/2013 in Wausau, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime
  • Craig R. Nelson (DOB 10/30/1978), Arrested 3/13/2013 in Green Bay, Charged with Trafficking of a Child, Possession of THC and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Joshua J. Fumelle (DOB 3/21/1989), Arrested 3/13/2013 in Green Bay, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime and Child Enticement
  • Daniel W. Moctezuma (DOB 2/25/1974), Arrested 3/14/2013 in Kenosha, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime, Child Enticement and Second Degree Sexual Assault of Child
  • Mark A. Randall (DOB 11/20/1970), Arrested 3/14/2013 in Appleton, Charged with Trafficking of a Child, Child Enticement and Resisting or Obstructing an Officer
  • Timothy J. Belz (DOB 9/5/1994), Arrested 3/14/2013 in Madison, Tentatively Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime and Solicitation of a Prostitute
  • Ryan D. Gleason (DOB 10/24/1991), Arrested 3/14/2013 in Green Bay, Tentatively Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime
  • Jeffery D. Vadnais-Speck (DOB 10/16/1985), Arrested 3/14/2013 in Shawano, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime
  • Michael R. Wenzel (DOB 12/16/1947), Arrested 3/14/2013 in Green Bay, Charged with Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime

Action 2 News' Sarah Thomsen was there with officers all last week during the sting.  The Brown and Door County Sheriff's Departments allowed Action 2 News three days of unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to "Operation Black Veil."

That's what they called this sting because they say internet predators are in our community - living and working next to us - but nearly no one knows what they're doing under the veil of their computer.

This week we will have series of reports showing you how quickly and easily investigators can find people in this area willing to meet and, in many cases, pay to have sex with children, and we want to share what you as parents and families can do to protect our children.

Operation Black Veil began Tuesday morning in an investigative room in the back of the Door County Sheriff's Department.

Over three days, officers from three agencies use computers to pose as children, or adults willing to sell children for sex.

"It happens everywhere. To be blind and say, well, not in Door County for instance, well that would just be foolish," Terry Vogel, Door County Sheriff said.

Investigators post their first ad to Craigslist at 8:24 a.m., a time nearly incomprehensible to most people to see responses.  But we see replies flood their email in boxes nearly instantly.

"We initially had 14, I believe, people interested and we're currently working them now, an hour and a half into it," Jim Valley, Door County investigator said. 

Over three days - from 8 a.m.-midnight - two shifts of investigators chat with more than 500 people. Most of them are from Wisconsin, but some from as far away as Florida.

While many don't take it beyond these computer conversations, we see 16 people who authorities say want to and eventually try to meet a child for sex.

We are allowed to ride along with Brown County Sheriff's Department investigators as they conduct surveillance and make arrests of people they say thought they were meeting either a 10 or 15 year old for sex.

Through the week, we see these meetings happen in the evening and in broad daylight, in the middle of the week, in crowded parking lots throughout Brown County.

"It amazes me as to how little advertising we do on this to initiate something like this and the response we get.  That is almost mind boggling," Sgt. Chris Amraen, Brown County Sheriff's Department said.

Investigators call what they see over three days "scary" and hope it serves as a wake up call for parents and their families to understand what and who is out there - in any community - at any time.

It's why they brought Action 2 News along.

"You don't know who you're speaking with, so any time you have identifiable information, it's imperative that kids are taught that you don't know who you're talking to," Sheriff John Gossage, Brown County said.

"It's a good warning shot for all the rest of the people out there to know that law enforcement is actively working these people, these predators of children," Deputy Troy Montevideo, Door County Sheriff's Department said.

At 10:15 a.m. Monday, state and local law enforcement held a news conference to talk about this investigation.  Action 2 News was there and have the details throughout the day.

And throughout the week, Sarah Thomsen will have reports taking you inside this operation minute-by-minute, showing you how fast it all happens and just what's out there for your kids to see.
     
Plus, we'll have important information for parents on preventing your kids from falling victim to online dangers.

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