Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Something's Fishy

Tired of all the embarrassing news about police officers surfing the 'net for porn or being indicted for distributing child pornography, Benton County law enforcement agencies joined forces to set up a speed trap on the information highway. In a coordinated effort with Perverted Justice, the Decatur and Highfill police departments, and the Rogers Police Department’s Crime Suppression Unit, the Gentry Police Department lured six men to Gentry and busted them for wanting to have sex with a police officer pretending to be Jail Bait.

It is against the law to attempt to meet up with an undercover cop pretending on the internet to be a 13-year old girl interested in having sex. You can be
charged with Internet stalking of a child, a class A felony punishable with a prison sentence ranging from six to 30 years. You could also be charged with being really stupid. Even if you are acquitted later, you will get your name in the paper, as did Jackie Ray Beasley, 40, of Fayetteville, and James Brock Lyons III, 28, of Fort Smith. That's never a good thing.

Now, I suppose this internet scheme to lure potential predators to Benton County is what the cops do after they have solved all previous crimes and arrested all the criminals in the area. That and pretending to
be doing the jobs of nonfeasant federal Immigration Officers. It should increase local revenue from fines and forfeited bonds. I can even understand the local Chamber or the state Parks and Tourism Department supporting such operations to increase tourism revenues, since most of those arrested were from Oklahoma, Texas, or Missouri.

What I don't get is what probable cause, or even improbable cause, existed to establish jurisdiction and justify participation in the bust by
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife enforcement officers. Were they expecting Angus MacGregor to show up? Perhaps herds of Satyrs and Centaurs? Lesbian Mermaids? This is pretty weird, even for Benton County.

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