A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer residing in Rio Rico was one of 21 people arrested on child sexual exploitation charges during a recent multi-agency sting operation in the Tucson area.

Daniel E. Perez, 33, was a CBP officer at the time of his arrest on Aug. 1, but is no longer employed by the agency, CBP said in a statement.

“CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of its mission,” the statement said. “CBP does not tolerate misconduct on or off duty and will fully cooperate with all investigations of alleged employee misconduct.”

According to the Tucson Police Department, its Internet Crimes Against Children unit led a coalition of 12 local, state and federal agencies in an investigation that saw law enforcement officers conduct undercover internet chats with people claiming to be adults during the week of July 29 through Aug. 2.

“The law enforcement personnel who were chatting online posed as juveniles and agreed to meet the adults in Tucson to engage in sexual acts,” TPD said in a news release. “At the end of the five-day operation, 21 sexual predators were taken into custody without incident after arriving to meet with the ‘juvenile’ they were talking to online.”

The suspects, all male, were booked into the Pima County Jail and charged with luring of a minor for sexual exploitation, a Class 3 felony. A “large majority” were booked on additional felony charges, TPD said.

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