Former police officer among 13 arrested in Michigan human trafficking sting

Thirteen men, including a former police officer who previously served as an educator, have been arrested in a human trafficking sting conducted by Michigan police, authorities said.

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The men were arrested following a four-month operation by the Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team, dubbed GHOST, MLive reported.

Todd Barraco, 44, was arrested on March 17 after trying to meet and have sex with a person he believed was a 15-year-old girl, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson and “To Catch a Predator” host Chris Hanson said in a joint announcement on Facebook.

Barraco was arraigned Saturday on charges of child sexually abusive activity, accosting children for immoral purposes and communicating with others on the internet to commit a crime, MLive reported.

Barraco was a part-time officer with the Vassar Police Department but has since been fired, Chief Benjamin W. Guile said in a statement posted to Facebook.

As an educator, Barraco left Imlay City schools as the dean of students in 2014, left as the assistant principal of Westwood High School in 2015 and resigned from his position as principal for Merrill Community Middle and High Schools in 2016, WJRT-TV and WSGW Radio reported.

Another man arrested was David Dues, a former Mott Community College HVAC instructor and security team member at a Davison-area church, according to MLive.

The other men arrested, according to the sheriff’s office, ranged in age from 28 to 70, WNEM reported.

  • Daniel Jackson, 49, of Metamora, arrived to have sex with a 15-year-old without a condom, Swanson said.
  • Jacob Wulka, 32, of Shelby Township, asked the GHOST decoy if they took donations, according to the sheriff.
  • Cornelius Martin, 29, of Grand Blanc, who works at a parts and delivery organization. Swanson said Martin’s chat to the decoy was too crude to be disclosed to the public, WNEM reported.
  • Cevin Payne, 29, of Burton.
  • Brandon Fritz, 28, of Waterford, asked what the decoy was wearing and also had a fantasy of what he thought they should wear, the sheriff said.
  • David Wagner, 54, of Lapeer, is a factory worker.
  • Jasynn Dings, 45, of Lapeer, owns an excavating company and brought a dump truck to the scene along with a bottle of Faygo Rock and Rye, Swanson said.
  • Sander Singh, of Saginaw, told the decoy in the chat that age is just a number, Swanson said.
  • Robert Grey, who has been out on parole for 60 days, told investigators he has been meeting with more than a dozen people since leaving prison, Swanson stated.
  • Anthony Cook, 39, of Flint.
  • Thomas Smeaton, 70, of Chesaning, is a commercial truck driver and drove 45 miles to meet with a 15-year-old, Swanson said.

Swanson said the announcement of Barraco and Dues’ arrests were made on Facebook in case other victims wanted to come forward, MLive reported.

“We did that to put these individuals out front so perhaps other victims can see the picture, come forward, and feel like they have a voice,” the sheriff said. “They know that maybe somebody like this, who has never been caught, has been held accountable.”