*Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, one of the men arrested and charged, Hector Martinez, is a former employee of WEEK-TV*
PEORIA (HOI) — The public now has access to the evidence federal prosecutors say pinpoints the way nine local men went after a minor for sex. The criminal complaints attached to the case contain hundreds of messages between an FBI covert employee and the alleged predators. In every single exchange, the covert employee made it clear to the men that they were talking to a minor.
After being told the person he was messaging in high school. He asked, “I take it you’re not 18?”. When the supposed minor says they are 15. This suspect, Travis Koch, asks if they can keep a secret.
In what the US attorney says was Tyler Lee’s conversations, he tells the covert employee, that to him, age is only a number.
Other messages include the men allegedly asking for naked pictures and asking the minor if they like oral sex. In nearly every situation, the men were eventually invited to a home in Peoria where police and the FBI were waiting. Investigators say nine showed up, some were even found with condoms when they were arrested.