A colonel assigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, has been arrested and charged with solicitation, according to The State newspaper.
Col. Fernando Guadalupe Jr. was arrested June 10 and later charged with solicitation for prostitution, according to an incident report by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. His arrest was first reported by The State.
Guadalupe was arrested as part of an investigation called Operation Full Armor, a sweeping federal and state law enforcement effort to capture online predators.
Operation Full Armor involved the Richland County Sheriff’s Department setting up ads on websites pretending to be 13- and 14-year-old girls in order to seek out people online who wanted to participate in sexual activity with the teenagers. These child predators would show up at the address given, expecting to meet a teenage girl and would instead be greeted by handcuffs.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced Thursday that 38 people have been arrested so far as part of Operation Full Armor, according to The State.
Guadalupe does not face any charges relating to minors, but he is being charged with solicitation of a prostitute. Guadalupe responded to one of the online posts and showed up at a staged home expecting to meet a prostitute, according to The State. He was arrested by authorities when he arrived.
According to the incident report from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Guadalupe propositioned an undercover law enforcement officer for sex and agreed to pay $100 for 30 minutes of “sexual services.”
Marine Corps veteran Col. T. Shane “Rhino” Tomko was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
According to the Army, Guadalupe has been the head of Fort Jackson’s Leader Training Brigade since January 2017. Before Fort Jackson, Guadalupe was the Resolute Support Mission director of staff at NATO headquarters and the chief of doctrine and tactics for the U.S. Army Aviation School of Excellence.
He is a career aviation officer who was commissioned as a second lieutenant at Georgia State University in 1994.
In a statement, Fort Jackson officials said they “are aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct by a soldier assigned to Fort Jackson. The soldier has been suspended from his duties pending the outcome of the investigation."
Fort Jackson officials are cooperating with local authorities in the case, post officials said in the statement.
“The Fort Jackson leadership takes these allegations seriously,” the statement said. “Sexual misconduct is inconsistent with Army values and the Army profession.”
Army officials referred any other questions to the sheriff’s department.