Multi-Agency Undercover Operation Leads to Two Arrests on Underage Sex Trafficking Charges
West Springfield, Mass. — On Thursday November 4th members of the West Springfield Police Department under the direction of Captain Jay Gearing, Springfield Police Firearms Investigation Unit under the direction of Captain Brian Keenan, Massachusetts State Police High Risk Victim Unit under the direction of Detective Lieutenant Brian Galvin, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department all working in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations (Springfield) under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Anthony Ruffule arrested two suspects on Sex Trafficking, Solicitation and Electronic Enticement Charges involving underage boys.
Members of these partner law enforcement agencies conducted an undercover operation at a West Springfield hotel attempting to identify individuals who sought to engage in sex acts with minors. An online advertisement was created on an undisclosed website.
On Thursday at approximately 8:10 p.m. 29 year old Jonathan Cruz of Springfield arrived at the hotel. Cruz was responding to the ad to engage in sex acts with a teenager for money. He was placed under arrest.
At approximately 8:40 p.m. 59 year old Manuel Ferreira of Indian Orchard arrived at the hotel. Ferreira was responding to the hotel to allegedly engage in sex acts with a teenager for a fee. He was placed under arrest.
“This is another example of excellent team work between our local, state and federal partners. Any person who preys on children is a danger to our community. When we share resources we are able to conduct operations such as this that ultimately protects someone’s child,” said Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
“I’d like to thank Homeland Security, the Massachusetts State Police, Sheriff’s Department and Springfield Police for being great partners and making this operation a success. Our Detectives consistently address these problems and in doing so it keeps our town safer by identifying and removing accused predators off the street,” said West Springfield Police Chief Paul Connor.
“This operation exemplifies the results we can achieve when local, state and federal partners work together. Preventing the exploitation of children is of the utmost importance and we at Homeland Security Investigations are proud to work towards that goal alongside our law enforcement colleagues,” said Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge for the Homeland Security Investigations’ Boston Field Office.
Both Cruz and Ferreira were arraigned in Springfield District Court on Friday.
29 year old Jonathan Cruz of Springfield & 59 year old Manuel Ferreira of Indian Orchard are charged with:
- Trafficking of a Person Under 18 for Sexual Servitude
- Electronic Enticement of a Child Under 18 to Engage in Prostitution
- Solicitation of a Person Under 18 for Sex