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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Vancouver, Washougal men swept up in Oregon child predator sting

By , Columbian staff reporter

Washington County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Vancouver man and a Washougal man Thursday in connection with an Oregon undercover child predator sting.

Undercover officers posed on a variety of social media platforms as underage boys and girls. The five men who were arrested allegedly contacted the investigators, who they believed to be children, online and offered to meet for sex, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon. When they arrived to meet the children, they found the officers instead and were arrested.

The men were identified as Chad L. Gruelle, 41, of Washougal; Nicholas A. Smith, 25, of Vancouver; John Bucher, 55, of Hillsboro; Aubrey R. Quinn-Ward, 25, of Portland; and Michael D. King, 23, of Beaverton, according to a news release.

Each of them was booked into the Washington County Jail on suspicion of luring a minor and first-degree online sexual corruption of a child.

Detectives believe there may be more people who were victimized by the men and ask anyone with information to call the sheriff’s office at 503-846-2700.

The Lake Oswego Police Department also assisted with the investigation.

The sheriff’s office encourages parents to help children be safe online and to be aware of the online forums their kids are using. The agency regularly conducts undercover operations targeting child predators and has online safety education tips for parents and community groups, the news release states.

Becca Robbins: 360-735-4522; becca.robbins@columbian.com; @brobbinsuo