by Tina Johansson
Members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Gang Task Force went undercover for two days – Jan. 13 and Feb. 9, arresting nine men in a continued campaign to suppress the demand for purchased sex.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Gang Task Force joined a coalition of federal and local law enforcement agencies in a nationwide operation which specifically targeted customers of prostitutes known as “Johns.”
The task force used a known website for the advertisement of prostitution. When the customers arrived and offered money to the undercover detectives for sexual acts, they were arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail.
Over five years the nationwide effort has led to the arrests of more than 6,000 “Johns” and sex traffickers, according to Sgt. Christopher Covelli, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.
In an issued statement, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said, “Prostitution is not a victimless crime, it often involves human trafficking and juvenile sex trafficking. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will continue to pursue those who choose to exchange money for sex.”
The following individuals were arrested and charged with solicitation of a sexual act at a southern Lake County hotel:
Arrested Jan. 13:
Erik L. Jorgensen, 40, of Lake Forest
Evelio Garcia-Caniz, 34, of Chicago
Arrested Feb. 9:
Matthew R. Scanlon, 47, of Gurnee (charged with both Solicitation and Resisting Arrest)
Michael Pacholczak, 33, of Mundelein
Francisco J. Castaneda, 43, of Vernon Hills
Dimitrios Samaras, 42, of unincorporated Mundelein
Antonio M. Knight, 23, of Vernon Hills
Gustavo R. Valdez, 38, of Prospect Heights
Oscar Rivera-Maldonado, 20, of Waukegan
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran reminds the public the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.