Darien Man Among Suspects Arrested In NJ Child Predator Sting: PD

Alfred Branch
·5 min read

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — A Darien, Connecticut, man is among twelve child predators who used social media and chat apps to arrange sex with underage girls and boys and were busted in an undercover sting operation by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office in New Jersey and the FBI, authorities said.

As part of "Operation Spotlight," undercover officers would go on social media apps and games, pretending to be girls and boys ranging in age from 12 to 14 years old, and wait to be approached, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson said.

The alleged predators ranging in age from 26 to 34 believed they were speaking to "kids" and made plans to meet them in Somerset County for sex, Robertson said.

All the alleged predators, including three who traveled from New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, came to one of three locations in Somerset County between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18, where they were arrested.

Among those arrested was Benjamin S. Burke, 27, of Hollow Hill Tree Road in Darien, who is a software engineer, according to authorities (charges are listed below). Burke was going to meet a 12-year-old, Robertson said.

Here is a full list of the 12 alleged predators:

  1. Kyle C. Saludes, 34, Virginia Ave., Jersey City, (allegedly solicited a 13-year-old) Saludes is a HVAC technician. Saludes is charged with second-degree attempted luring, third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, third-degree possession of CDS (Alprazolam), third-degree possession of CDS (MDMA), disordely persons possession of CDS (Marijuana under 50 grams), and disorderly persons possession of drug paraphernalia.

  2. Quentin Anthony Blount, 28, Bushkill Road, Easton, P.A. (allegedly solicited a 14-year-old) Blount is employed as a distribution warehouse employee in Pennsylvania. Blount is charged with second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  3. Digant R. Patel, 46, Briarwood Drive East, Warren, (allegedly solicited a 14-year-old) Patel is employed as a Vice President of a financial institution. Patel is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  4. Tyler R. Mineo, 27, East Union Avenue, Bound Brook, (allegedly solicited a 14-year-old) Mineo is employed with a local supermarket. Mineo is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  5. Christopher Matamoros-Rojas, 26, Regents Court, Hillsborough, (allegedly solicited a 13-year-old) Matamoros-Rojas is currently unemployed. Matamoros-Rojas is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  6. Alexander Castillo-Velasquez, 34, Romney Road, Bound Brook, (allegedly solicited a 14-year-old) Castillo-Velasquez is a self-employed handyman. Castillo-Velasquez is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  7. Jesus Modesto-Sanchez, 29, Van Buren Street, New York, N.Y. (allegedly solicited a 13-year-old) Modesto-Sanchez is employed at a professional financial firm in New York City. Modesto-Sanchez is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, second-degree attempt to manufacture child pornography and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  8. Benjamin S. Burke, 27, Hollow Hill Tree Road, Darien, CT. (allegedly solicited a 12-year-old) Burke is employed as a software engineer. Burke is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  9. Cristian Medina, 34, LaGrange Street, Raritan, (allegedly solicited a 14-year-old) Medina is employed as a restoration technician. Medina is charged with first-degree promoting prostitution of a child under the age of 18, second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  10. Ryan S. Lee, 35, Commonwealth Avenue, Trenton, (allegedly solicited a 13-year-old) Lee is employed as a warehouse employee. Lee is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  11. Daviti R. Robakidze, 27, East Union Avenue, Bound Brook, (allegedly solicited a 14-year-old) Robakidze is employed as a retail worker. Robakidze is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

  12. Kevin M. Curcio, 27, Schmidt Lane, North Brunswick, (allegedly solicited a 13-year-old) Curcio is employed as a warehouse employee. Curcio is charged with second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

Three of the men were taken to federal authorities while the rest were released pending a court hearing.

"Believe me as a father of a 10 and 12-year-old girls, I feel it in my bones every day the responsibility to make sure the people such as the individuals seen on the billboard are not taking advantage of our kids," US Attorney General Craig Carpenito said at the press conference Tuesday.

Robertson warned parents to monitor their children's social media apps and games including Facebook, MineCraft, Fortnite, Tik Tok, etc.

"Parents need to be especially diligent, even before COVID, but especially now when everything is virtual. Schooling, hanging out — kids are not hanging with one another they are on tablets or devices. They need to be diligent on what and who they are speaking with. The message is, if they don't know who it is, don't invite them into their chatroom or Fortnite game," Robertson said.

Watch the entire press conference below:

By Alexis Tarrazi, Patch Staff

This article originally appeared on the Darien Patch