SOMERVILLE, NJ - A 27-year-old North Brunswick man is one of 12 suspects nabbed in an online sting operation that targeted sexual predators.

Five other suspects live in Somerset County; three came to New Jersey from out-of-state and the others live in New Jersey.

Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, U.S. Attorney/District of New Jersey Craig Carpenito, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives John W. Fodor and Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch, Jr., FBI Newark Division made the announcement at a press conference in Somerville Tuesday afternoon..

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“Operation Spotlight” was a multi-agency undercover operation that sought individuals using social media applications to lure underage girls and boys for sexual activity, according to Robertson These “underage children” were actually undercover law enforcement officers who are specially trained in internet undercover operations.

The defendants arrested in this operation initiated contact based on profiles posted by the undercover law enforcement officers on various social media platforms. Once chatting began, the undercover officers clearly identified themselves as underage girls or boys.  Despite that information, the defendants engaged the “children” in conversations about sex and made arrangements to meet the “children” for sex. The defendants were arrested when they arrived at one of three pre-arranged locations in Somerset County, where they expected to find their victims.

The arrests in “Operation Spotlight” were made over a four-day period from October 15th through October 18th, 2020.  Three defendants traveled to New Jersey from Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut with the intention of meeting with a “child’ for sex. The defendant’s charges range from first degree Promoting Prostitution of a child under the age of 18, to second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault of a minor, and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare by debauching the morals of a child. The defendants will be either prosecuted by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office or federally by the United States Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey.

The North Brunswick suspect is Kevin M. Curcio, 27, Schmidt Lane (13-year-old). Curcio is a warehouse employee. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The undercover operation encompassed dozens of federal, state, and municipal law enforcement officers from around the State, forensic examiners, and attorneys from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Electronic devices were seized from the defendants and examinations of those devices are ongoing. 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 federal and state charges, according to Robertson..

The other suspects arrested during “Operation Spotlight” also 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 with three defendants being transferred to federal authorities, according to Robertson.

Kyle C. Saludes, 34, Virginia Avenue., Jersey City. (13-year-old). Saludes is an HVAC technician. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child, 3rd degree Possession of CDS (Alprazolam), 3rd degree Possession of CDS (MDMA), Disordely Persons Possession of CDS (Marijuana under 50 grams), and Disorderly Persons Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Quentin Anthony Blount, 28, Bushkill Road, Bethlehem, Pa. (14-year-old) Blount works as a distribution warehouse employee in Pennsylvania. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Digant R. Patel, 46, Briarwood Drive East, Warren (14-year-old). Patel is employed as a vice president of a financial institution. Patel is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Tyler R. Mineo, 27, East Union Avenue, Bound Brook (14-year-old). Mineo is employed with a local supermarket. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Alexander Castillo-Velasquez, 34, Romney Road, Bound Brook (14-year-old). Castillo-Velasquez is a self-employed handy man. and is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Jesus Modesto-Sanchez, 29, Van Buren Street, New York, N.Y. (13-year-old). Modesto-Sanchez is employed at a professional financial firm in New York City. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, 2nd degree Attempt to Manufacture Child Pornography and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Benjamin S. Burke, 27, Hollow Hill Tree Road, Darien, Conn. (12-year-old). Burke is employed as a software engineer. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Cristian Medina, 34, LaGrange Street, Raritan (14-year-old). Medina is employed as a restoration technician. He is charged with 1st degree Promoting Prostitution of a child under the age of 18, 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Ryan S. Lee, 35, Commonwealth Avenue, Trenton (13-year-old). Lee is a warehouse employee. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Daviti R. Robakidze, 27, East Union Avenue, Bound Brook (14-year-old). Robakidze is employed as a retail worker. He is charged with 2nd degree Attempted Luring, 2nd degree Attempted Sexual Assault, and 3rd degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The joint operation also included assistance from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Victims Squad, Newark Field Office, Albany New York Field Office and Philadelphia Field Office along with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The agencies that participated in “Operation Spotlight” are listed below:

Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office

United States Attorney’s Office / District of New Jersey

Federal Bureau of Investigation

United States Secret Service

New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center (R.O.I.C.)

New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory

Somerville Police Department

Bound Brook Police Department

Branchburg Police Department

Hillsborough Police Department

Manville Police Department

Raritan Police Department

“Our children and their online safety is the utmost concern to us at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office," Robertson said. "Social media apps allow predators into our homes and as law enforcement, we must do what we can to make it a safer environment. We hope that this operation will continue to be eye-opening for parents. Although, 12 online child predators have been arrested, parents must learn the apps that their children are using and the inherent dangers within.”