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Seventeen arrested in Internet child sex sting

Published On: Mar 18 2013 08:40:54 AM CDT   Updated On: Mar 18 2013 08:58:44 PM CDT

Top row: William Ward, Ryan Gleason, Matthew Micksch,, Timothy Marking, Douglas Crueger; Middle: Jeremy Stegall; Bottom: Michael Wenzel, Craig Nelson, Charles Zimmerman, Marc Marion, Timothy Belz

MADISON, Wis. -

A three-day operation targeting people who solicit children over the Internet for sexual exploitation resulted in 17 arrests, including six arrests in Madison, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The Internet Crimes Against Children operation, called Operation Black Veil, ran Tuesday through Thursday and included investigators from the state Department of Justice, investigators from Brown and Door counties, Madison police, the Dane County Sheriff's office, the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department and others.

Criminal complaints for four of the men arrested describe arrangements for sexual encounters the men allegedly made with officers posing as minors or custodians of minors on Craigslist.

Wisconsin Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John said it was the largest coordinated effort targeting Internet crimes against children in the state's history.

St. John told a news conference that child sex trafficking happens in Wisconsin and is "not simply an international phenomenon."

The number of arrests in the operation has authorities warning parents to be alert to the dangers of online predators.

"We want to make sure the public is aware of what's happening in their community and that this will not be tolerated in the state of Wisconsin. On a county level, the city level, it's going to be stopped," said Brown County Sheriff John Gossage.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said there are more criminals out there targeting children.

"We have a lot of reason to believe there are a lot of children being offered for sale on the Internet. There are an awful lot of people soliciting them for sexual abuse, and we need to do more to bring these people out of the woodwork, and so this is just a sign of what's to come," Van Hollen said.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal calls for five people to work just on these cases within the Department of Justice. There is currently no one specifically assigned to child sex crimes.

Investigators said that kind of dedicated effort is needed because policing the Internet for child exploitation is hard to do.

In a news release, the Department of Justice provided a list of those arrested in the operation:

• Charles Zimmerman, 36, was arrested Tuesday in Madison on suspicion of trafficking of a child.
• Timothy M. Marking, 49, was arrested Tuesday in Madison on suspicion trafficking of a child and child enticement.
• Matthew J. Micksch, 26, was arrested Tuesday in Green Bay on suspicion of child enticement.
• Benjamin W. Lahti, 24, was arrested Tuesday in Minocqua on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, exposing a child to harmful materials and possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Marc S. Marion, 54, was arrested Wednesday in Madison on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
• Jeremy W. Stegall, 29, was arrested Thursday in Madison on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
• Douglas Crueger, 44, was arrested Wednesday in Madison on suspicion of solicitation of a prostitute.
• William C. Ward, 27, was arrested Wednesday in Green Bay on suspicion of trafficking of a child.
• Phillip Waller, 36, was arrested Wednesday in Wausau on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
• Craig R. Nelson, 34, was arrested Wednesday in Green Bay on suspicion of trafficking of a child, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Joshua J. Fumelle, 23, was arrested Wednesday in Green Bay on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and child enticement.
• Daniel W. Moctezuma, 39, was arrested Thursday in Kenosha on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, child enticement and second-degree sexual assault of child.
• Mark A. Randall, 42, was arrested Thursday in Appleton on suspicion of trafficking of a child, child enticement and resisting or obstructing an officer.
• Timothy J. Belz, 18, was arrested Thursday in Madison on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and solicitation of a prostitute.
• Ryan D. Gleason, 21, was arrested Thursday in Green Bay on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
• Jeffery D. Vadnais-Speck, 27, was arrested Thursday in Shawano on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.
• Michael R. Wenzel, 65, was arrested Thursday in Green Bay on suspicion of use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

Investigators expect to identify other suspects as the operation continues.

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