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ST. GEORGE — Following a multi-day sting operation that began Sunday and ended early Tuesday evening, agents arrested nearly a dozen suspects for investigation of sexual exploitation and trafficking offenses – including the arrest of a Cedar City man who had an open case filed in connection with a similar undercover exercise conducted last year.
The three-day sting operation was part of a proactive effort initiated by Dixie State University Police Chief Blair Barfuss, who told St. George News he thought it was time to run another federal operation as it had been a little more than a year since the last one.
Barfuss, who is cross-deputized to work with the FBI, then reached out to the agency's law enforcement partners and organized the federal sting operation that included agents from FBI field offices in multiple states across the country, in addition to coordinating multiple meetings with the Washington County Attorney's Office, as well as with federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. George.
Barfuss served as the lead in the investigation, which also included DSU Police Sgt. Ron Bridge. The joint effort led to the arrest of 11 individuals who were booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
During the coordinated effort, agents set up multiple locations where the suspects believed they were meeting up to "have sex with children," Barfuss said. But instead, they were met by officers and arrested.