14 St. Louis area residents thought they were meeting minors for sex. Instead, they were arrested by the FBI

14 St. Louis area residents thought they were meeting minors for sex. Instead, they were arrested by the FBI

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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — Fourteen St. Louis area residents were arrested this week for attempting to have sex with minors following an investigation led by the FBI.

All suspects were arrested at residences where they thought they were going to engage in sex with minors they met online, according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois. 

Charged with attempted enticement of a minor are Richard L. Britt, 38, and Travis Shubert, 29, both of Granite City; Urich Gaines, 32, and Gerald S. Sewell, 56, both of Belleville; Kayln E. Hogatt, 27, and James R. Sears, 35, both of Bridgeport; Kevin Kamler 30, and Nicholas Wright, 35, both of O'Fallon, Missouri; Preston Thomas, 57, and Vallie F. Zeller, 43, both of St. Louis; Brett Brimberry, 28, of Glen Carbon; Brian Lotz, 56, of Collinsville; Philip M. Reis, 55, of O'Fallon, Illinois, and Anthony Parrish, 33, of Swansea.

Several of those arrested face additional charges, including Hogatt and Zeller, both of whom are charged with attempted production of child pornography, and Wright, who is charged with attempted sex trafficking of a child. 

Undercover agents on Sunday and Monday pretended to be minors in a variety of text messages, social media and apps, according to the release. 

In all, more than 50 agencies were involved in the investigation.

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