Former Quincy cop honored for combating sex trafficking

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Quincy Police Department/courtesy photo Quincy Police Department Chief Kieth Siebert, right, honors former QPD officer and current Grant County Sheriff’s Office deputy Mark Pannek, left, for his work in combating child sex crimes.

QUINCY — A former Quincy Police Department officer, and current Grant County Sheriff’s Office deputy, was recognized for his work combating underage sex trafficking.

In 2015, while employed with the QPD, Deputy Mark Pannek worked with the FBI and together they conducted an investigation that culminated in convictions of production of child pornography, child sex trafficking, coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in criminal activity. The investigation led to a 25-year federal prison sentence for Eric. J Perez, of Yakima, and seven years in federal prison for Alberto Castro Jr., of Quincy.

“This was excellent police work and yet another example of what cooperating law enforcement agencies can do when they work together," QPD Chief Kieth Siebert said.

Castro was contacted by a 13-year-old girl at the direction of Perez and paid the young girl $80 for two sex acts at his residence. Police learned about Castro’s criminal conduct as they were investigating Perez. Police started investigating Perez after a sibling of one of his victims told a school counselor she was concerned about her sister contacting Perez on Facebook. The FBI and QPD looked into Perez and discovered his Facebook account contained several conversations between himself and young girls.

“The impact of Castro’s crime on his victim cannot be overstated. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington prosecutes crimes against children aggressively, in part because of the extreme vulnerability of the young victims.” Joseph H. Harrington, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said. “This case is yet another example of the successful investigative efforts that can be accomplished when state and federal law enforcement, such as the Quincy Police Department and the FBI, work in partnership.”

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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