Home Morris County Police warn parents after 19 arrested in child predator sting

Police warn parents after 19 arrested in child predator sting

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Nineteen people were arrested in a child predator sting in New Jersey after prosecutors say they tried to lure children for sex.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson on Thursday disclosed details about the sting called “Operation Open Door.”

According to the attorney general, the defendants used social media and chat apps to arrange for sex with underage girls and boys, but instead, they were communicating with undercover officers posing as children.

“By arresting them, we’ve not only stopped them in their tracks, but we’ve also stopped others by sending a powerful message that no matter who you are, no matter where you’re hiding, or what apps you are using, if you try to target young people for sex, we will find you and when we do, we will arrest you,” says Grewal.

Sixteen of the defendants are from New Jersey and were arrested when they arrived at undercover houses throughout the state which were staffed with dozens of law enforcement officers between October 23 through October 28.

One defendant drove in from Pennsylvania, and two were in the state for work from Indiana.

The following men were arrested in “Operation Open Door.” They believed that they were communicating with a minor described in the parentheses. The defendants are charged as indicated and were lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending detention hearings.

  • Julio Cubia-Aviles, 27, West Orange. (14) Cubia-Aviles is a carpenter. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Juan Lopez, 42, Passaic. (14) Lopez is a day laborer. Charges are 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Brayan Alvarado, 25, Middlesex. (14) Alvarado is a volunteer fireman and driver for an electric company. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Jihaad Brown, 23, Franklin Park. (14) Brown is retail salesman. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Michael Brown, 28, Edison. (14) Brown is a mail tester. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Brian Davis, 28 of Somerset. (14) Davis is a security guard. Charges are 2nd degree Attempted Promotion of Prostitution of a Child, 2nd degree Luring, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Asif Iqbal, 53, Mount Holly. (14) Iqbal is a business owner. Charges are 2nd degree Attempted Promotion of Prostitution of a Child, 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Rafael Martinez-Lezama, 37 of New Brunswick. (13) Martinez-Lezama is a cook at a bagel shop. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Jose Martinez-Mejia, 32 of West New York. (14) Martinez-Mejia is a day laborer. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and 3rd degree Attempt to Promote Obscene Material to a Child.
  • Duraikandan Murugan, 40, Jasper, Ind. (14) Murugan is unemployed. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Nimeshbha Patel, 48, Piscataway. (14) Patel is a retail worker. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Niraj Patel, 46, Somerset. (14) Patel is a printer. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Michael Schumacher, 55, Somerset. (12) Schumacher is a self-employed home theater installer. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Zulfiqer Sekender, 47, Piscataway. (14) Sekender is a software engineer. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Naveen Thangaraj, 36, Edison (14) Thangaraj is a system engineer. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault.
  • Alexander Ulikowski, 20, Branchburg, N.J. (14) Ulikowski is an assistant manager for a hockey store. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Conrado Vasquez-Vasquez, 38, New Brunswick. (14) Vasquez-Vasquez works at a dry cleaners. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
  • Randal Wise, 42, Crawford, Ind. (14) Wise is an engineer for a sports television network. Charges are 2nd degree Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child and 3rd degree Attempt to Promote Obscene Material to a Child.
  • Adam Zeigler, 34, Carlisle, Pa. (14) Zeigler works for an amusement park. Charges are 2nd degree Luring and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The defendants are variously charged with first-degree promoting prostitution of a child under the age of 18, second-degree luring and second-degree attempted sexual assault of a minor, authorities said.

They were also charged with third-degree attempted endangering the welfare by debauching the morals of a child, and third-degree attempt to promote obscene material to a child, authorities said.

Officials urged parents to closely monitor their children’s online activities and a task force is being set up to educate young children
The investigative review of the forensic examinations is a lengthy process and will enable investigators to determine if the devices contain evidence of any prior encounters by the defendants with underage victims, which might constitute additional cases of luring, sexual assault or child endangerment, authorities said.