An undercover operation to suppress human trafficking led to 14 suspects being arrested at a hotel in Gurnee over the span of several days, police announced.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Group conducted the operation to suppress the demand for purchased sex, according to Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli.
The Special Investigations Group joined a coalition of law-enforcement agencies in a nationwide operation specifically targeting customers of prostitutes known as ‘Johns.’
“Many of the individuals selling sex are not doing so willingly, a large number are being forced into involuntary servitude,” Covelli said.
Authorities said the web-based operation focused on classified advertising websites that are regularly used for prostitution. When the ‘Johns’ arrived and offered money to the undercover detectives for sex acts, they were arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail.
This nationwide effort has led to the arrests of more than 10,000 total ‘Johns’ and sex traffickers in the past nine years.
Arrested at the Gurnee area hotel were the following suspects:
- Salvador Vicario, 61, of the 3000 block of 17th Street, North Chicago
- Gregory D. Pahl, 53, of the 12400 block of 336th Avenue, Twin Lakes, WI
- Carlos Reyes-Velez, 36, of the 12800 block of West 28th Street, Beach Park
- Mark K. Volpe, 62, of the 300 block of Oak Terrace Avenue, Highwood
- Steven P. Wilt, 62, of the 2200 block of Cardinal Court, Gurnee
- Pedro Mendez-Gonzalez, 51, of the 400 block of North Pioneer Road, Waukegan
- Timothy D. Christian, 37, of the 2000 block of Miraflores Avenue, Waukegan
- Gustavo A. Cornelio-Garcia, 25, of the 1200 block of 34th Street, Zion
- Roger C. Jimdar, 31, of the 3300 block of 15th Street, Kenosha, WI
- John Powell, 38, of the 700 block of Mill Court, Waukegan
- Sean A. O’Reilly, 43, of the 8900 block of Woodbridge Drive, Greendale, WI
- Jay Sawyer, 58, of the 4100 block of Chester Drive, Glenview
- Kyle E. Macgibbon, 59, of the 15500 block of West Timber Lane, Libertyville
- Gregory J. Mason, 53, of the 2200 block of Hunters Court, Spring Grove
All of the men arrested were charged with one count of solicitation of a sexual act, a Class A misdemeanor, and will appear in court in Waukegan.
“Human trafficking is a significant problem which exists everywhere, even right here in Lake County. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office makes it a priority to do everything we can to suppress the demand of purchased sex,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.