TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Twin Falls Police arrested four southern Idaho men this past weekend in connection to an online sex crimes sting.
With the help of Homeland Security investigators, the police department worked to identify individuals who use social sites to target underage juveniles for sex.
Undercover officers made contact with four men allegedly looking to have inappropriate contact with 13- and 14-year-old girls.
The men arrested include Robert A. Barney, 39, of Meridian, Solomon D. Peppley, 23, of Nampa, Jeffery S. Davis, 55, of Rupert, and Aaron T. Evans, 26, of Twin Falls. All four face felony child enticement over the internet charges.
On Saturday, Homeland Security investigators, placed an ad on Whisper. Court documents said, the conversation switched to texting and the undercover officer posed as a 13-year-old girl. The officer and man had multiple text conversations over the course of several hours and discussed meeting to have sex.
The man was later identified as Barney. According to a probable cause affidavit, Barney was given directions to a decoy residence in Twin Falls where he thought he was meeting the 13-year-old girl. Instead, he was met by police and arrested before being taken to the police station. When officers arrested Barney, they said he allegedly smelled of alcohol. The blood alcohol test results were 0.083 and 0.087. Barney also faces a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge.
On Thursday, a Nampa man responded to an ad on Craigslist posted by Homeland Security investigators. Investigators posed as a 13-year-old girl and the man was later identified as Peppley. According to court documents, investigators learned the Peppley worked as a children’s pastor at a church in Nampa. On the church’s Facebook page, the church said Peppley was a volunteer and was never alone with any children. See the Facebook post below.
Through text messages, Peppley made plans with the fake identity to meet on Saturday. He said it would cost him $200 to take an Uber to Twin Falls. When Peppley arrived in Twin Falls at a designated location, he was met by officers and arrested. In an interview with officers, he told police he wanted to do everything but have sex with girl.
On Saturday, undercover officers responded to an explicit ad on Craiglist by a man “looking for ladies.” Officers posed as a 14-year-old girl, and through a text conversation talked about meeting in Twin Falls for sex. According to court documents, the undercover officers suggested a second girl might also come over.
Police later identified the man as Davis, met at a designated house and officers arrested him. In an interview, Davis told officers “I already know what this is about, I have come across this before.” He said he’d responded to a similar ad, then received messages from the girl’s uncle saying they would press charges.
Homeland Security also placed a profile of a 14-year-old girl on a social media site called Skout. According to a probable cause affidavit, a man by the profile name “lovr” responded to the profile by texting the undercover officer. Court documents say the text conversation immediately went sexual. Text messages indicated Evans wanted to meet up on Saturday. During the text exchange, the undercover officer posing as the girl said she was 14, almost 15 years old. Investigators were later able to identify Evans. During the text conversation, Evans reportedly said “I love young girls.”
Court documents say Evans offered to come pick up the girl and also asked if the girl smoked weed. When Evans arrived at the designated location, police arrested him and then taken him to the Twin Falls Police Department for an interview. According to the probable cause affidavit, police said Evans denied wanting to do anything more than making out with the girl. Police found a small amount of marijuana in his possession.
All four men are being held on bonds in excess of $150,000. Their preliminary hearings are set for April 19.