Pasco man in prison for child sex crimes
TRI-CITIES, Wash. – A Pasco man was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Wednesday, after detectives arrested him for posting an ad seeking sex, and undercover cops responded posing as a 13-year-old girl.
Detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SER-ICAC) and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) went undercover on a well-known website.
Authorities said 20-year-old Guillermo Rico described in graphic detail the way he wished to have sexual intercourse with the child. Rico also spoke about taking the virginity of the child.
Detectives from the SER-ICAC Unit conducted surveillance of Rico’s home where he was observed leaving, driving to an ATM where he withdrew money and driving to the predetermined meet location in Kennewick.
Detectives watched Rico circling around the meet location approximately 6 times and eventually driving down side streets searching for the child.
Detectives watched Rico leave the location and return to his home in Pasco.
In October of 2015, Rico re-contacted the child. Rico offered to pay $100.00 for sex with the child and requested she sneak out to meet him.
On Wednesday, Benton County Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner sentenced Guillermo Rico to 21 months in prison, followed by 36 months of supervision for violation of RCW 9.68A.100, Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor (CSAM).
Richland police said it’s one of their top priorities to stop sexual assault of children in the Tri-Cities.
"Every agency in the Tri-Cities contributes some type of resource combatting the internet crimes against children, some put a full-time investigator in the task force, and some have other support operations that they go through to try and help with that mission," Captain Mike Cobb said.
The ICAC task force has classes periodically throughout the Tri-Cities to teach parents what to look for and how to keep kids safe online.
"It is very common that predators are going to try to contact our children in every capacity,” Cobb said. “So it’s important to be aware and cautious of who your kids are talking to.”
Cobb said officers often go undercover to try and find predators.
“Anytime officers post one thing on an internet site you'll have 20-30 grown people respond, trying to have sex with children, both boys and girls,” he said. “We have a significant area for concern.”
That’s they’ve focused so much effort towards Internet Crimes Against Children and sex trafficking in recent years.
"We're lucky to have [ICAC] here, it’s too bad that we have such need,” he said. “But we are addressing the need from our perspective as a police department.”
Cobb said they are working to protect children in the community and officers want to keep kids as safe as possible, but he said there needs to be a wraparound approach.
"We need to have partnerships though, with parents with communities, with our schools, and that's why we're trying to do so much outreach," he said.
Cerise Peck is Richland police’s crime prevention specialist. She teaches online safety courses 2-3 times a month. You can find those resources at City of Richland website.