Underage sex trafficking sting leads to arrests in West Springfield

Crime

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Two Springfield men were arrested during an undercover police operation targeting people who sought to engage in, and pay for, sex acts with minors.

Jonathan Cruz, aged 29, of Springfield and 59 year old Manuel Ferreira of Indian Orchard were arrested Thursday night at a West Springfield hotel after responding to an online advertisement offering sex acts with a teenager for money. Both men 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

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 the two suspects on Sex Trafficking, Solicitation and Electronic Enticement Charges involving underage boys.

“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.

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