SALINAS, Calif.- They're lurking on the Internet and looking for young victims. On Thursday night a man is behind bars, accused of devising a plan to have sex with a teenager.
We got a behind the scenes look at an undercover sex sting operation, right here on the Central Coast. Monterey County detectives said a man put up an ad on an Internet bulletin board then agreed to meet up with a teenager. But little did he know who was actually waiting for him.
Detectives arrested 24-year-old Bogdan Trakov of Santa Rosa early Thursday morning. They said he drove two and a half hours to Salinas, just for the meet up. Special enforcement detectives with the Monterey County Sheriff's Department said Trakov used an Internet bulletin board to look for "high-school, teen girls." Detectives said he made it known he was a man looking for sex with an under-aged girl.
Detective Sergeant Daniel Karamitis said it all starts with an online post. He said detectives regularly monitor several social media sites, looking for anything suspicious, like the post Trakov is accused of putting up. That's when detectives turn into teenagers, pretending to be the suspects' prey. Karamitis said Trakvov thought he was driving to the Creek Bridge Shopping Center parking lot on Constitution Blvd. to meet with a 13-year-old girl.
"And he eventually agreed to drive down from Santa Rosa, California to Salinas with the thought of engaging in sexual acts," Karamitis said.
Karamitis said detectives wait for the suspect to take the online conversation to next level, agreeing to sexual acts and making plans to meet up at a specific location.
"Many times these suspects will travel to meet their victims and it's a crime of opportunity and where the victim is a lot of the time, that's where the suspect will go," Karamitis said.
Karamitis said Trakov agreed to pick up the victim in Salinas and then head to a local hotel, prepared with the drugs he was asked to bring. In this case, Karamitis said it took several hours to coordinate the sting. Trakov showed up to the designated meet up spot and didn't resist being arrested.
"We do work on them as much as we can because there are violent offenders and preying on young victims and we want to stop that as much as we can," Karamitis said.
Trakov is being held in the Monterey County Jail and his bail is set at $100,000. He'll be charged for lewd sex acts with a 13-year-old and for providing drugs to a minor. Both are misdemeanor charges.