LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Seven men thought they were meeting a teenager at a hotel for sex. They didn’t find a young girl at the hotel, they found an undercover police officer.
The men who were arrested in an undercover operation by the Louisville Metro Police Department came from various backgrounds. WAVE 3 News has learned one of them is a well-known jockey. Police say the one thing they all have in common, they are fathers.
Police arrested Blake Jeffreys, 40, of Louisville; Richard Tong, 47 of Louisville; Fabio Arguello, 47, of Louisville; Bradley Martin, 34, of Jeffersonville, Ind.; Edward Phillips, 53, of Shepherdsville, Ky.; Amos Brown, 49, of Hodgenville, Ky.; and Jeffrey Stutts, 37, of Eastview, Ky.
All seven are facing charges of promoting human trafficking and prohibited use of an electronic system to procure a minor.
LMPD says they called the latest two-day sting, conducted on February 28 and 29, “Operation Bright Light.”
“The name I chose was Operation Bright Light because this is a very dark and heinous crime and I want to shed that bright light on it,” LMPD Sex Crimes Detective Kris Pedigo said.
Police say five of the seven suspects had steady jobs. Det. Pedigo says all but one was married, one had recently gone through a divorce. One was retired military personnel. WAVE 3 News has confirmed that one of the suspects, Fabio Arguello is a well-known jockey, he won the 1992 Kentucky Oaks aboard Luv Me Luv Me Not.
Police say they posted six ads online on different websites that were up for two days. They say they were contacted 115 times by individuals. Det. Pedigo says when some found out that the person was 16, they cut ties. Some did not.
Those suspects agreed to meet who they thought was a 16-year-old at a hotel off of Phillips Lane in Louisville to exchange money for sex acts. Police are not releasing the name of the hotel.
"The perps were provided a room number," Det. Pedigo said. "Once, they made entry into the room, that solidified their actions. They were taken into custody right then."
Police also found the money they had with them.
Police say they did three undercover operations like this last year, this year they plan to do the same. “If this causes one person to change his mind for the fear of being arrested and taken into custody, I think that is great,” Det. Pedigo said. “Also, I would say be prepared to see more of these in the future.”
Some of the suspects had additional charges of drug possession. Police say one suspect had a counterfeit $100 bill.
Arguello was on the Board of Backside Learning Center which provides educational resources for track employees and their families at Churchill Downs. We are told that he is being removed from that position.