Two Chicago men were arrested after they to set up a tryst between an undercover police officer and two underage girls at local hotel, the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office announced.
Demarcus Feltus, 29, and Laburron Jackson, 29, are each facing one count of promoting juvenile prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school, a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Both men were nabbed in a joint nationwide FBI child sex trafficking sting called “Operation Cross Country VIII.”
An undercover officer with the Aurora Police Special Operations Group answered an ad offering “2 sexy females.” The officer made arrangements on June 19 to meet the girls for a sexual encounter at a hotel in Aurora near Robert Morris College, authorities said.
The next day, the two girls, both 15, arrived at the hotel around 12:30 p.m. and met with the undercover officer in one of the hotel rooms, the charges allege.
Authorities say the girls were driven to the hotel by Feltus and Jackson, who waited in their car in the parking lot after dropping them off at the hotel.
The men allegedly instructed the girls to have sex with the undercover officer in exchange for money, which would be split with Feltus and Jackson. Both men threatened to keep some of the girls’ personal belongings if they did do as they were told, authorities said.
After speaking to the girls in the hotel room, the officer determined that both were 15 years old. The officer signaled to the other officers in the special operations group to approach the men waiting outside in their car, according to the charges.
As police closed in on the men, Feltus allegedly fled the area on foot. After a brief foot chase, Feltus was taken into custody. Authorities said Jackson was taken into custody without incident.
“The charges against these two men are appalling,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. “The very idea that two grown men would force two 15-year-old girls into prostitution for their own monetary gain is nauseating.”
Bail for both Chicago men was set at $500,000 by Judge Elizabeth Sexon on Monday morning. The two are being held at DuPage County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.
“Operation Cross Country VIII” was a week-long, sting targeting commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States. The operation covered 106 U.S. cities across 54 FBI field divisions nationwide and resulted in 168 recoveries of children who were being victimized through prostitution, the FBI said.
Additionally, 281 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.
Locally, in the Chicago area, 13 juveniles were recovered and four alleged "pimps" were arrested.
The task force was formed as a result of local enforcement adult and child prostitution arrests targeting truck stops, casinos, the streets, and websites that advertise dating or escort services. Such arrests frequently uncover organized child and adult prostitution rings around many states, the FBI said.
Working in partnership with U.S. Attorney offices and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, prosecutors can help bring about federal charges in communities where there is child prostitution.
The Chicago-area child prostitution sweep included law enforcement officers from the FBI, Cook County Sheriff’s Police and Chicago Police Department participated in the sweep, along with the following: United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Illinois State Police, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and Cook County Juvenile Probation.
Suburban police departments that helped in the sting included Alsip, Aurora, Bedford Park, Bolingbrook, Calumet Park, Carol Stream, Crestwood, Downers Grove, Elk Grove Village, Joliet, Lansing, Naperville, Rolling Meadows and Romeoville.