BOZEMAN – Seven people were arrested in an operation that targeted human trafficking in Gallatin County.
According to a press release, Calvin F. Bender, Cody M. Umland, Mark A. Steed, Matthew J. Maus, Shannon J. Rodman, and Travis M. Stake, all of Gallatin County and John C. Sanders of Lewis and Clark County were arrested on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and booked into the Gallatin County Detention Center for the crime of prostitution after allegedly responding to advertisements posted on websites frequented for facilitating sexual contacts.
According to law enforcement officials, the operation focused on the targeting of demand for illicit sexual contact.
During this operation, the advertisement received over 50 inquiries for various sexual acts. On the day of the operation, numerous “dates” were scheduled. Customers commonly referred to as “johns”, arrived at the agreed-upon location and met with an undercover law enforcement officer who posed as the trafficking victim.
According to the release, Gallatin County law enforcement will continue to focus their efforts to thwart trafficking throughout the county and state through joint investigative operations. These operations focus on both the demand for such services and the human traffickers exploiting young men and women.
Law enforcement can provide education to the public to help identify possible trafficking victims as well as prevention efforts with at-risk populations of younger men and women.
The investigation and operation were conducted by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.
If you have information regarding trafficking operations or victims of human trafficking, you are encouraged to call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at 406-582-2121, the Bozeman Police Department at Policetips@bozeman.net, or the Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-373-7888. You may be eligible for a reward through Crime Stoppers for information that leads to the successful prosecution of criminal acts.
Reporting by Ken Spencer for MTN News