23 arrested in sting operation involving online solicitation of minors

By Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor, Gianna Caserta - Reporter

FORT BEND - Twenty-three men have been arrested and charged with trying to solicit children online for sex, but police say it is what they found inside one of those men's trucks that really disturbed them.

Officers say 33-year-old Mark Duesterberg, not only drove from Spring to Sugar Land looking for sex with an underage girl, but his truck was filled with weapons and pipe bombs.

"He was taken into custody and his truck was searched, there was some what we thought were explosive devices that were found inside his truck," says Sgt. Matt Levan of the  Sugar Land Police Department.

We went to his home but no one answered the door.

"There is a neighborhood concern, someone driving with these types of devices in their vehicle when they go to a subdivision an park on a public street, so we have safety concern for neighbors," said Levan.

"Not good, I cannot even believe that, not good," said neighbor Tiffany Ellis.

Neighbors were shocked when they heard why he was arrested because they say he seemed like a nice guy.

"He is just a nice guy, a family guy they do family things, we socialize sometimes, you never know everybody has a story," said Ellis.

Along with Online Solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child, Duesterberg was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a dangerous drug, firearm smuggling, theft of firearm, prohibited weapon. An explosive charge is likely to follow.

This sting operation was hosted by the Missouri City Police Department, the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, Katy ISD Police Department, and the Sugar Land Police Department.

The arrests occurred over a month-long period in May as part of a joint task force.

"Some of these guys have already committed crimes against children, but the best case scenario is we go arrest these guys before they get to a kid," says Sgt. Jarret Nethery of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.

This sting operation was hosted by the Missouri City Police Department, the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, Katy Independent School District Police Department and the Sugar Land Police Department.

"As kids get more involved in using the internet and are online more, we see more and more case of child exploitation that involved the internet, we have got to put the message out there to the criminals, we are not going to tolerate it," said Nethery.

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