Sheriff to child predators: You'll get caught and 'it'll be the worst nightmare you ever had'
(6/10/2019) - Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell issued a warning to child predators that they will be caught and "it'll be the worst nightmare you ever had."
He announced charges filed against 22 people Monday who allegedly were targeting underage children for sex. The five-week sting led to 21 arrests while one suspect remains at large.
Pickell said members of his two-person Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (GHOST) posed as teenagers online and the 22 suspects took the bait.
The GHOST team set up at a Genesee County hotel, where the arrests took place. Authorities found meth, marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, cash, guns and knives on the accused predators.
Pickell said the suspects are from Genesee, Shiawassee, Oakland, Wayne, Lapeer, Saginaw and Tuscola counties. A total of 37 charges have been filed against the 22 suspects, most of which are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The investigation led to a more sinister crime, Pickell said. When Michael Foster was arrested, authorities learned he had been paying Jennifer Beckham to have sex with her 6-year-old and sexually abusing his own 2-year-old daughter.
Beckham is facing charges related to child sex trafficking.
Pickell said the sting easily could have netted more charges and arrests, but police were limited by manpower and time constraints with only two officers assigned to the GHOST team.
He is hoping to expand the team and is seeking grants to pay for more officers.
"We're coming after them. We're not gonna quit," Pickell said. "We're not quitting and as a matter of fact, if I get that grant we're gonna grow larger, multiply and we're gonna get ... but if I get that grant, watch out."
The 22 suspects come from all walks of life working at McDonald's to General Motors -- even a senior vice president at Comerica Bank. Pickell said that shows people committing these crimes could be anyone's neighbor.