A Missouri cop working an online sex-trafficking sting over Craigslist used a gutsy bluff to collar an alleged pedophile last week.
As part of an undercover operation called Operation Guardian Angel, Officer John Howe of the Kansas City police posted a classified ad on Craigslist on March 5, claiming he was pimping underage girls for "cherry poppin'. Within a minute of posting the ad, he allegedly received an e-mail inquiry from one Chris Cockrell — a year-old finance manager at a Mississippi auto dealership. What do u have to offer?
Anything other than straight sex is more money. Howe sent Cockrell some photos of the supposed girls — actually childhood pictures of female officers.
But Cockrell was cautious, according to court records. So after a few minutes, Howe threw down the gauntlet.
The gambit worked. He was arrested.
In his car, police found a loaded. Cockrell was indicted. He faces a potential life sentence.
Seven men have been charged in all in the undercover operation, including an active-duty Navy recruiter, an insurance manager and a truck driver who drove his tractor-trailer to the undercover residence.