A multi-agency effort targeting human trafficking in South Bexar County has led to the arrest of 46 people.
The 46 people, which range from age 17 to 60, were arrested on January 11th for violations of Texas laws regarding human trafficking, prostitution, and attempted sex trafficking, during a nine-hour reverse sting operation.
"Operation Blue Ice took place on three fronts: street prostitution, online solicitation, focusing both on unsuspecting "Johns" and those who provide those services," said Sheriff Susan Pamerleau of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.
On the street level, Bexar County Sheriff Deputies disguised as prostitutes were approached by solicitors, or "John's," either in vehicles or on foot, all offering to pay for sex.
On the online level, unsuspecting "John's" were taken off of various websites after they arranged encounters with what they thought were either of age women or underage girls.
Operation Blue Ice was conducted by the Human Trafficking Task Force, which consisted of 100 members of law enforcement from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Department of Homeland Security Investigations (ICE), and the San Antonio Police Department, and solicited additional help from the District Attorney's Office, the Office of the Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Child Protective Services, Juvenile Probation and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
"The operation yielded the arrest of a middle school teacher, an on duty ambulance driver, and unfortunately a civilian employee of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff Pamerleau.
The teacher has been identified as Grant Douglas Allen from Stinson Middle School with the Northside Independent School District, and Sheriff Pamerleau says their civilian employee has since been terminated.
"No longer will those folks who profit from online solicitation be able to get away with it, and folks it is big money," said State Senator Leticia Van De Putte. "It is big money because you can sell guns, arms, or drugs one time, while you can sell a human being dozens of times a day."
Sheriff Pamerleau said further investigations into any children who may have been targeted by these individuals are still being conducted.