Lake County task force charges 14 ‘Johns’ in prostitution sting

Frank Abderholden

More than a dozen men from Illinois and Wisconsin were arrested and charged with soliciting a sex act this month by undercover officers with the Lake County Sheriff’s Gang Task Force as part of a continuing effort to reduce the demand for purchased sex, according to authorities.

The task force joined a coalition of federal and local law enforcement agencies during a nationwide effort targeting “Johns,” or customers of prostitutes, through a web-based operation that used classified advertising websites known to police as a medium for prostitution, according to statement issued Wednesday by Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli.

When the suspects arrived at a location in the 4100 block of Fountain Square Place in Waukegan and offered money to undercover detectives for sexual acts, they were arrested and transported to the Lake County jail, according to the statement.

“There is no doubt a correlation between ‘Johns’ and women being sex trafficked,” Sheriff John Idleburg said in the statement. “Sex traffickers take women and juveniles to areas where purchased sexual acts are in high-demand, and northeastern Illinois is no exception.

“Our Gang Task Force will do everything they can to rescue and protect those being forced into involuntary servitude.”

Over the past eight years, the nationwide crackdown led to the arrests of more than 9,000 total “Johns” and sex traffickers. All of the individuals involved in this month’s arrests were charged with solicitation of a sexual act, a Class A misdemeanor, and are scheduled to appear in Lake County Circuit Court on Feb. 25, according to the statement.

Idleburg reminded the community in the statement that all the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Authorities said the following 14 people were arrested and charged:

Martin Barajas, 43, of the 7800 block of 48th Avenue in Kenosha, Wis.

Kyle Brenner, 27, of the 39000 block of N. Dilleys Road in Wadsworth.

Rajasekar Chinnathambi-Somanathan, 39, of the 1000 block of Lakehurst Road in Waukegan.

Aaron Fink, 42, of the 900 block of Gregory Avenue in Wilmette.

Juan Galan, 42, of the 300 block of S. Lewis Avenue in Waukegan.

Leslie Horton, 47, of the 33000 block of N. Mill Road in Grayslake.

Daniel Jones, 26, of the 400 block of Thornwood Drive in Lindenhurst.

Jackie Joyner, 67, of the 5000 block of Key Lane in McHenry.

Roberto Lazcon, 29, of the 1000 block of McCalister Avenue in North Chicago.

Austin Lind, 31, of the 43000 block of N. Kenosha Road in Zion.

Cristobal Paniagua Ferreira, 33, of the 1500 block of Wilson Court in Zion.

Robert Prager, 57, of the 600 block of Rockland Road in Lake Bluff.

Ricardo Sanchez-Angel, 44, of the 200 block of Grove Street in Mundelein.

Matthew Weigl, 49, of the 4100 block of 110th Street in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

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