Six men arrested in Will County in anti-human trafficking operation

An Illinois State Police squad car is pictured in a file photo. This week the agency agreed to hold more public hearings on its assault weapon registration process, although the existing emergency rules governing the process will remain in effect.

Six men were arrested and jailed in Will County on charges of indecent solicitation of a minor and traveling to meet a minor as part of an Illinois State Police anti-human trafficking operation.

An investigation by Illinois State Police earlier this week led to arrests of Enrique Aldaz-Garcia, 31, of Chicago, Mario Lucas, 56, of Joliet, Carlos Mejia, 27, of Chicago, Raymond Peterson, 56, of Lockport, Ismael Zamora-Ruiz, 55, of Bolingbrook, and Saad Alkhawaja, 63, of Darien.

All six men were arrested on charges of indecent solicitation of a minor and traveling to meet a minor. They were jailed on Thursday and Friday.

In a statement, Illinois State Police said the operation was a part of a “multifaceted approach by ISP aimed at stopping human trafficking in Illinois.”

Detention hearings were held on Friday for Aldaz-Garcia, Alkhawaja and Zamora-Ruiz. Judge Donald DeWilkins ordered to keep the three men detained in jail.

Lucas, Mejia and Peterson are scheduled for detention hearings on Saturday.

At the hearing for Aldaz-Garcia and Alkhawaja, Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Tricia McKenna alleged both men were communicating online with an undercover officer who was posing as a female juvenile. McKenna alleged both men went to a hotel in Bolingbrook to meet who they thought was a female juvenile to engage in sexual conduct.

In a statement, ISP Director Brendan Kelly said the agency is increasing its efforts to “protect those who are vulnerable to human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual servitude.”

“Anyone who thinks about feeding the demand for human trafficking should know that ISP could be waiting behind a door for them with handcuffs,” Kelly said.