The men are typically arrested when they show up at prearranged locations with cash in hand, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Val Richey.
Fifty men were charged with attempted commercial sex abuse of a minor in 2014, an increase from the 40 men charged the year before, Richey said.Last week, for instance, Seattle police arrested Mohanad Alalnabkh, a 27-year-old citizen of Saudi Arabia, who was charged July 8 and released from jail the next day after posting $100,000 bail, according to court and jail records.
“He’s just one in a steady stream,” said Richey, who since 2013 has charged foreign nationals from Canada, Mexico and several Central American countries as well as India, China and Bulgaria.
Seattle police have historically made the bulk of arrests — a trend that continues, with the department’s Vice & High Risk Victims Unit busting half the men charged so far this year. Renton police have had 16 cases of attempted commercial sex abuse of a minor in the first half of 2015, Richey said.
“There’s no end of opportunity to find men willing to exploit people on the Internet,” both adults and minors, said Richey, noting police across King County have stepped up arrests of men looking to buy sex since the launch of the county’s Buyer Beware initiative in October. Part of that effort is aimed at men who go online to seek out sex with juveniles.
Seattle and Renton police were each responsible for busting one of the sex offenders last week, according to Richey and charging documents.
On Sunday afternoon, Nolan Cyrewas arrested when he showed up at a fast-food restaurant in South Seattle driving a rental car with North Carolina license plates, charging papers say. Though Cyre hadn’t decided where to take the girl he thought he was meeting, he planned to pay her $100 for sex — plus another $50 if she agreed to an additional sex act, according to the charges.
Cyre was released from the King County Jail on Tuesday after posting $35,000 bail, but prosecutors are seeking to have his bail increased to $100,000 due to his criminal history and out-of-state ties, according to jail and court records.
Cyre, 36, was convicted in Jacksonville, N.C., in 2010 of possessing sexually explicit images of children, and he most recently lived in Los Alamos County, N.M., said Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero.
Lucero, who oversees a department of five deputies, said Cyre was one of seven or eight sex offenders registered in Los Alamos County when Cyre moved there in September.
Cyre, an underwater welder, often traveled for work and when he did, Lucero kept in contact with the police agency in whatever jurisdiction Cyre was visiting for as long as he was gone, the sheriff said.
When Cyre notified Lucero in January that he was moving to Seattle, Lucero said he contacted the King County Sheriff’s Office, which is responsible for monitoring registered sex offenders here.
King County sheriff’s Sgt. Stan Seo said Cyre registered with his office in February.
Three days after Cyre’s arrest, Renton police arrested Todd Smelser, a Level 2 sex offender from Tacoma, according to charging documents. He is listed as a transient on the Pierce County Sheriff’s online sex-offender registry, though his previous crimes were all committed in King County, court records show.
Smelser, 49, was arrested Wednesday afternoon when he arrived in the parking lot of a Skyway fast-food restaurant in a van with a makeshift bed in the back, charging papers say. Smelser, who started communicating with a Renton detective in June, also had $50 and a six-pack of alcoholic cider — the agreed payment for sex with a 15-year-old girl, according to the charges.
Smelser remains jailed in the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent in lieu of $200,000 bail.
Smelser was convicted in 1988 for having sex with a 14-year-old girl, then in 1996 for raping a 3-year-old girl, court records show. He was also convicted in 2006 for failing to register as a sex offender.