SALT LAKE CITY — Two men were arrested Tuesday in separate stings after police say they thought they were arranging to meet with children for sex but had instead been communicating with undercover officers posing as children.
Investigators say John Patrick McGrath, 29, of Salt Lake City, thought he was meeting a 13-year-old for sex at a designated meeting site but was arrested after finding only police at the site.
McGrath was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of two counts of enticing a minor, five counts of dealing in harmful materials to a minor, two counts of drug possession, two counts of child endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Between Aug. 8 and Nov. 24, McGrath talked with an undercover officer with the State Child Exploitation Team posing as a 13-year-old child, and attempted to arrange a meeting for sex, according to a police affidavit. During that time, McGrath also sent five explicit pictures and videos of himself to the undercover officer, the affidavit states.
When McGrath arrived at the designated meeting location on Tuesday, he was arrested. In his car, which police say he borrowed, investigators found methamphetamine and THC dab that McGrath planned on smoking with the 13-year-old, according to the affidavit.
Shamim Dasti, of Midvale, 27, was also arrested Tuesday in a separate sting after police say he thought he was meeting a girl for sex but ended up leading police on a chase.
He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of enticing a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, dealing in harmful materials to a minor, and failing to stop for police.
For several weeks, Dasti used an undisclosed social media app to chat with a girl he thought was under the age of 14, according to a police affidavit, but the girl was actually an undercover officer. Dasti requested nude photos of the girl, sent his own explicit pictures and made suggestions that they meet for sex, the affidavit states.
A meeting was arranged in the area of 1530 S. Roberta Ave. When Dasti arrived, several Salt Lake patrol cars attempted to pull him over, according to the affidavit.
"Shamin proceeded to flee from the officers at a high rate of speed through neighborhoods. While fleeing, Samin failed to stop at several stop signs and red lights, through a school zone and school parking lot," the affidavit states.
While fleeing, Dasti sent a message to the undercover officer, still believing it was the girl he was meeting, and "commented about how he had fled from the cops" and that he was going to delete his Facebook account, police wrote in the report.
Police were able to identify Dasti and went to his home where they waited for him to arrive.
"Prior to Shamin being placed into custody and after he had fled from the police, he told the girl he was going to flee to Vegas and 'lay low.' Shamin has shown his propensity to flee capture during this case. Shamin is from out of the country and has contacts he could go stay with," the affidavit states.