Arrests made in undercover internet sex predator operation

Last week, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies conducted a two-day operation in an effort to locate internet child sex predators in and around the Mesa County area.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Junction Police Department, Palisade Police Department, 21st Judicial District Attorney's Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested seven individuals attempting to have sex with children, or engage in prostitution as a part of this operation.

“This operation sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they can exploit our children in our community – we will catch you, you will go to jail, and you will be prosecuted,” said Mesa County Sheriff Todd Rowell. “The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to working together to find people who would harm our children.”

As a part of this large-scale multi-jurisdictional undercover operation, highly trained investigators posted ads for sex with children on several websites, social media sites, and applications.

The following people were arrested and booked into the Mesa County Detention Facility:

  • Michael Martinez, 27, of Clifton, CO, for the charge of Criminal Attempt to Patronizing a Prostituted Child F5
  • Jimmy Cox, 62, of Roswell, NM, for the charges of Soliciting for Child Prostitution F3, Criminal Attempt of Sexual Assault on a Child Victim less than 15 years at least 4-year difference in age F5
  • Anthony Veal, 26, of Rossville, GA,  for the charges of Soliciting for Child Prostitution F3, Criminal Attempt of Sexual Assault on a Child Victim less than 15 years at least 4-year difference in age F5
  • Marshal McNeill, 41, of Grand Junction, for the charges of Soliciting for Child Prostitution F3, Criminal Attempt of Sexual Assault on a Child Victim less than 15 years at least 4-year difference in age F5
  • Alex Williamson, 25, of Grand Junction, for the charge of Criminal Attempt to Patronizing a Prostituted Child F5
  • Corey Randle, 37, of Grand Junction, for the following charges: two counts of Soliciting for child prostitution F3, two counts of Attempted Sexual Assault on a Child Victim less than 15 years at least 4-year difference in age F5, Possession of a Schedule I/II controlled substance DM1, Prohibited Use of a Weapon M1, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

In coordination with the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, Israel Avalos-Villa, 40, was arrested for the following charges: Soliciting for Child Prostitution F3, Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child F4, Internet Luring of a Child F4, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor F4, Criminal Attempt of Sexual Assault F4, and Cyber Crime F5. Avalos-Villa is currently being held at the San Miguel County Jail. 

More arrests are pending further investigation. For updated bond information, visit our website. All arrestees are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank our local, state, and federal partners for assisting in this operation and helping to protect the youth of Mesa County. It’s important to know who you and your loved ones are engaging with online. Talking about the dangers of the internet should be an open dialog between parents and kids of all ages. For resources to protect children from online predators, click here. 

To report a crime, call 911. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.