Former US Senate Candidate, Top Banker Among 22 Arrested in Child Sex Sting
Major human trafficking operation in Michigan arrests almost two dozen
A former U.S. Senate candidate, a top banker, and a prominent financial advisor were among those arrested during a Michigan child sex sting operation.
According to authorities, politician George Huffman III, Senior Vice President of Comerica Bank Carl Spradlin and 20 other people are facing charges stemming from the sting.
George Huffman III was a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Michigan but lost the general election on November 6, 2018.
Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell says his team arrested 22 people as part of an online child sex sting targeting suspects who are accused of soliciting sex with children.
Sheriff Pickell announced the arrests by the Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (GHOST), a task force inside the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, 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 that the investigation is "a sobering reminder that we must be more vigilant than ever protecting our children."
Speaking to local news, Sheriff Pickell warned would-be pedophiles that his team will be "the worst nightmare [they] ever had" if they consider offending.
The sheriff said Monday an online ad was put up to draw suspects as part of the investigation, which involved the newly formed Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team, or GHOST.
He 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.
According to local reports, in total, arrests of these individuals have resulted in 66 felony charges, totaling 994 combined years of potential prison time.
"I have a warning to the pedophiles, the next time you look into your computer and you don't think anybody is watching, look again because you may see my face at the other end of the computer," said Genesee County Sheriff Robert J. Pickell.
"The Sheriff's GHOST will be right behind me and it'll be the worst nightmare you've ever had."
Authorities are still searching for Forest Williams, the last of the people involved in the sting.
According to ABC Chicago, the operation was conducted by a newly formed sheriff's GHOST task force.
"What does a pedophile look like? You know. What does a bank robber look like," said Sheriff Pickell.
"Yeah, he's someone's neighbor. He lives in the Flint area.
"You know a very prominent guy, a financial adviser, you know, manager of a credit... I'm sorry, manager of a restaurant, manager of another restaurant, brought the serrated knife, guy that ran for the United States Senate... on the sex offender's list.
"This guy and this guy wanted to have sex with a boy, a young boy.
"Yeah. The... all sizes, shapes, colors, creeds."
The undercover stings took place at hotels in the area from April 11th through May 15th.
Sheriff Pickell released details on the suspects Monday.
"They've been charged with child sexually abusive of activity," Sheriff Pickell said.
"That's a 20-year felony," Pickell reveals.
"Children accosting for amoral purposes. Another 20 year.
"Computer internet, communicating with another to commit a crime.
"And the maximum imprisonment is 20 years on that.
All but one of the suspects has been arraigned.
Authorities are still looking for that suspect.