Traverse City News and Events

Eight Arrested In Grand Traverse County In Underage Solicitation Sting

By Beth Milligan | July 1, 2022

Eight men were arrested in Grand Traverse County this month for solicitation of a minor, child sexually abusive activity, and use of a computer to commit a crime in a two-day multi-jurisdictional sting called Operation TC Safe, authorities announced Friday.

Numerous agencies participated in the operation that took place June 8 and 9, including the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau, Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office Interdiction Team, Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office East Bay Township community police officers, Traverse City Police Department, Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office, Traverse Narcotics Team, Wexford County Sheriff’s Office, Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, Michigan State Police Intelligence Unit, and Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Sheriff Tom Bensley, Grand Traverse County officers posed as underage females and males in the operation “in an effort to identify and arrest persons who are interested in having sex with underage persons.” Each suspect in the sting contacted the undercover officers; officers did not initiate contact with the suspects, Bensley said. Undercover officers made it clear to suspects that they were minors under the age of 16 in their communications, according to Bensley. “When suspects showed up to our undercover operation to have sex with minor children, they were arrested,” Bensley said. All of the suspects believed they were coming to pay to have sex with children. While the suspects came from across northern Michigan, all of the arrests occurred in Grand Traverse County.

The following is a list of the eight suspects who were arrested and arraigned in Operation TC Safe, as well as their ages, locations, and charges they’re facing. The charge of child sexually abuse activity refers to sexually explicit chats and the exchange of sexually explicit material that occurred during interactions between the suspects and undercover officers.

Adam Thomas Altobello, 31
Traverse City, Michigan – Employed at a local restaurant
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Duane Michael Straubel, 66
Traverse City, Michigan
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Joseph Roland Urso, 28
Lake City, Michigan
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Joshua James Horrigan, 43
Traverse City, Michigan – Had an extraditable warrant from Indiana for drugs
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Marvin Josue Guzman, 26
Traverse City, Michigan
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Daniel Joseph Symons, 22
Charlevoix, Michigan – On bond for criminal sexual conduct in Charlevoix County
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Jose Antonio De La Torre, 28
Elk Rapids, Michigan – Works for a local contractor
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Brenton Alan Evans, 37
Rapid City, Michigan
Child Sexually Abusive Activity, 20-year felony
Solicitation of Minor for Immoral Purpose, 4-year felony
Use of Computer to Commit a Crime, 7-year felony

Sheriff Christopher Swanson of Genesee County, who has presented at conferences on human trafficking, said at a press conference Friday that Operation TC Safe represented “proactive policing” and praised the “first-class professional investigations” that produced the eight arrests in a 48-hour period. Swanson discussed the dangers of human trafficking and suspects who target minors for sexual exploitation, saying that suspects “look for vulnerable people, the unsuspecting, the forgotten.”A majority of suspects use apps like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram to find their victims, he said. According to Bensley, statistics show that for every child predator who is arrested, 25 future children will not be victimized. Operation TC Safe then potentially saved 200 future victims from exploitation, he said. The sting was the first of its kind in recent department history, with Bensley stating he hoped the Sheriff's Office will conduct more such operations in the future.
 
Bensley noted the timing of the sting was relevant heading into the National Cherry Festival weekend, which can bring as many as 500,000 visitors to the area. Authorities cautioned the public, especially those with minors in their care, to be aware of the dangers of online solicitation and human trafficking. If a member of the public suspects someone is a victim of human trafficking, they can call 911, the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 877-605-3424, or the non-emergency local Central Dispatch line at 231-922.4550.

Pictured, top row L-R: Adam Thomas Altobello, Duane Michael Straubel, Joseph Roland Urso, Joshua James Horrigan
Bottom row, L-R: Marvin Josue Guzman, Daniel Joseph Symons, Jose Antonio De La Torre, Brenton Alan Evans

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