An undercover investigation ended with the arrests of two Army staff sergeants assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado, as well as six other men, who are accused of seeking to pay to have sex with children, according Colorado Spring police officers.
Staff Sgt. Ning Wang, 45, and Staff Sgt. Kirtis Davis, 23, were both arrested during an Oct. 23-24 joint law enforcement operation, according to police. The late October arrests were announced by police Nov. 5.
“In addition to ‘Soliciting for Child Prostitution’ (a class three felony), the District Attorney also added on the charge of ‘Criminal Attempt – Sexual Assault on a Child’ (that is a class five felony) for the eight individuals arrested, including Davis and Wang,” Colorado Springs police spokesperson Natashia Kerr said in an email.
Wang and Davis were initially transported and booked into the El Paso County Jail, but have since been returned to their units where they are confined and being monitored, a Fort Carson official told Army Times.
Attorneys for Wang and Davis were not available for comment and the accused soldiers could not be reached either.
Both men are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. Wang is an automated logistical specialist with 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and Davis is an infantryman with 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
Wang has been in the Army for 15 years. Davis has been in for more than five years. Both soldiers served in Iraq, according to their military records. Wang also served in Afghanistan.
In addition to Colorado Springs police, the sting involved the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colorado State Patrol, the attorney’s office for the state’s fourth judicial district and special agents from the Department of Homeland Security.
“Law enforcement agencies across Colorado are committed to working together to protect our state’s children from predators," Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a prepared statement. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to our partner agencies, without whom this operation would not have been possible.”
Kerr, the police spokesperson, declined to discuss how the operation was carried out, citing a need to “protect the integrity of future operations.”
“It’s easy to look away and say ‘That’s not happening here’ but the truth is human trafficking is in our own backyard” said Capt. Bill Barkley, commander of the smuggling, trafficking, and interdiction section of the Colorado State Patrol, in another prepared statement. “The incredible efforts by all participating agencies has made an impact, but there is still more to be done.”
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. Follow on Twitter @Kyle_Rempfer