Law enforcement officials in Colusa County are continuing their efforts to target online predators in 2023 with another arrest recently made by the Williams Police Department.
Williams Police Dept. Lt. Chris Miller said his department, along with the Colusa County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations, the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office and the Colusa Police Department, have conducted several focused investigations to target online predators since entering into a partnership with the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force last year.
“The partnership allows direct communication to local jurisdictions and provides smaller departments, such as ours, with technologies we would otherwise not have access to,” said Miller.
The partnership also allows for local departments to obtain grant funding and receive specialized training, said Miller.
According to Miller, 16 suspects were apprehended in 2022 due to these targeted investigations and, since the partnership is continuous, local departments will continue to conduct sting operations targeted at online predators.
The partnership, according to Miller, began as a way for the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force to more easily connect with local jurisdictions about tips related to suspects in possession of child pornography, but has now developed to allow local departments to conduct online sting operations to apprehend local online predators.
Miller said local detectives will establish a profile online posing as a minor and will wait to be solicited by an adult. Posing as the minor, the detectives will maintain a conversation with the suspect – many of which include sexual banter, promises of providing drugs or alcohol to the minor or the sending explicit images – until a meeting is arranged. At that time, the suspect will be taken into custody and charged.
Many of the suspects that have been arrested during these sting operations have already been sentenced to probation, jail time or sent to state prison to serve time for their felony offenses.
“In an era where everyone has access to the internet, minors included, we have to be vigilant in ensuring that adults do not use the internet to exploit children for sexual purposes,” said Colusa County District Attorney Brendan Farrell. “It is also important to bring parents’ attention to these issues, so they can incorporate proper safeguards for their children’s internet usage.”
Most recently, Troy R. Busby, 63, of Chico, was arrested by the Williams Police Department on Jan. 6 after one such investigation took place. Miller said the meeting happened to be arranged in Yuba City, outside of their jurisdiction, so they reached out to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office for assistance with the arrest.
Busby was taken into custody during the scheduled meeting on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging a meeting with a minor. Farrell said Busby posted bail but has an arraignment hearing scheduled to take place on Jan. 31.
Miller said most smaller jurisdictions are now entering into partnerships such as this as a way to further their law enforcement efforts.
“Like most small departments, we are trying to do more with less,” said Miller.