DOCUMENT: Internet, Sex, Crime

Undercover Web Site Derailed By Hosting Firm

Homeland Security operation offered "sex tourism"

Precious Treasure Holiday Company

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DHS Affidavit

MARCH 9--In an aggressive bid to entice prospective “sex tourists,” the Department of Homeland Security last year launched an undercover web site that purported to arrange trips from the U.S. to Canada, where clients could engage in sexual activity with minors, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The “Precious Treasure Holiday Company” web site was active until a few weeks ago when its Massachusetts-based web hosting firm removed the site from its servers, apparently in response to a complaint about its content. Now, visitors to are greeted with the message, “This site has been suspended.”

After a year online, the DHS undercover site may have fallen victim to its own sleazy, overt come-on. As seen at right, the site’s front page carried three symbols that an FBI intelligence bulletin has identified as being used by pedophiles. Additionally, the site’s acronym, PTHC, is an allusion to “preteen hardcore” pornography. The site’s carefully misspelled motto--“We Help Make Your Fantasy’s Come True!”--also does little to mask its illicit intentions.

An account executive with the hosting firm, who appeared unaware that “Precious Treasure Holiday Company” was a government operation, said that following a site’s suspension an internal investigation is launched. Upon the review’s completion, a site is either reinstated or terminated. The executive, Jason Crawford, added that if a customer’s site is found to contain illicit material like child pornography, the FBI is contacted.

[Five years ago, FBI agents concocted a similar sting, launching “Wicked Adventures Travel,” a web site purporting to offer pedophiles "exotic excursions" to the Philippines and Thailand. That operation yielded at least one felony conviction.]

According to court records and several sources familiar with the sting operation, the  “Precious Treasure Holiday Company” web site was operated by investigators assigned to DHS’s Cleveland office. In affidavits sworn by Agent  Gabriel Hagan, the undercover web site is described as “offering ‘international travel’ from Cleveland, Ohio, to Canada for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct with minors.” While records reveal that the site was first registered in February 2010, further details about its owner (as well as administrative and technical contacts) have been carefully cloaked. 

To draw visitors--and potential targets--to the site, DHS agents early last year began seeding a wide variety of sketchy web sites with mentions of (and links to) “Precious Treasure Holiday Company.” Investigators touted the undercover business on Russian and Swedish web sites, assorted chat rooms, and online destinations with words like “jailbait” in their addresses.

Using the online handle “otra,” one individual has been particularly enthusiastic in trying to drive traffic to the undercover operation. Posting on several sites, “otra” enthused that “Precious Treasure Holiday Company” was a “great place for real incest” and the “only place for the real thing.” In one online profile, “otra”--who is described as a Canadian male--opted for a profile photo (seen at left) showing a hand in a masturbatory position. Shortly after the DHS site went live, an anonymous poster on a Swedish bulletin board reported that, “I found a website where you can travel to go have sex with kids.” After including the nascent undercover operation’s web address, the poster added, “This website…is an actually thriving business that is legit.”

While it is difficult to gauge the overall success of DHS’s efforts to drum up visitors, the “Precious Treasure Holiday Company” operation has led to the conviction of at least one defendant on felony charges (he was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison), while another man is under indictment for conspiring to transport an eight-year-old girl from Canada to the U.S. with the intent of having her engage in sexual activity.

Federal court records indicate that two other individuals became targets of the DHS operation after visiting the undercover web site last year and engaging in subsequent e-mail exchanges with investigators. One subject is a former Marine now deployed in the Middle East with the Army Reserves.

In every instance, targets have visited the undercover web site and sought, via e-mail, additional information about “Precious Treasure Holiday Company” offerings. Agents responded by sending back a “brochure” with details of the sex tour to Canada. The brochure, a court filing reported, also “requested answers to specific questions so not to disappoint the customer.” These included queries about the preferred age of the minors with whom the prospective sex tourist sought to consort. The brochure also noted that a female employee would accompany customers to Canada (this role has been played by Agent Hagan).

[Update: Click here to view the one-page "brochure" sent to prospective targets by undercover agents.]

In some cases, a target was also provided a username and password that would allow access to a section of the DHS site containing an online “catalog” of girls aged eight to 14. Two men were arrested last year when they traveled to meet a child advertised in this catalog.

The enlisted man snared by the “Precious Treasure Holiday Company” web site, TSG has learned, is Sergeant Jason Talbott, a 32-year-old Washington state native.

In a mid-June 2010 e-mail from his Yahoo account, Talbott, pictured at right, wrote that he was “interested in a discreet package” involving an eight-year-old girl. While noting that, “I have no way of knowing if you are law enforcement or FBI,” Talbott asked about rates and sought “some sort of assurance that you are a legit company. Picture of some of the services provided maybe?” An account of Talbott’s e-mail exchanges with Agent Hagan is contained in a search warrant application excerpted here.

After receiving the brochure (and being provided access to the online catalog), Talbott described one particular child as “an attractive young lady, who would more than suit my needs.” He added, however, “I will not be back in the country for another year and a half as I am abroad.” Along with asking about adoption options mentioned in the brochure, Talbott wrote, “Again, I still have no assurances that you are legitimate, and not a sting operation or scam.”

Four months passed without further contact from Talbott. Then, on October 20, he sent an e-mail seeking “an updated catalogue of your females.” Based on entries from Talbott’s MySpace page, the e-mail was sent while he was home on leave in Spokane. In an October 14 post, he told of returning in a few weeks to the “sandbox” (Talbott previously wrote of being deployed in Kuwait).

Included with the October 20 e-mail was a naked photo of a prepubescent girl. “Attached is a pic of what I like just to show that I am not FBI. I would love a sample pic of one of your girls to verify something that shows a bit more than a clothed girl that looks like one of the dateline bait girls. All I need is to find myself on dateline.” While assuring that he was not a law enforcement agent, Talbott still appeared unconvinced that the web site’s proprietors were not themselves carrying badges or NBC employees.

After identifying Talbott as a target of the DHS probe, a TSG reporter sent a series of detailed e-mails to the Yahoo account seeking comment. In an initial response, the recipient replied, “I'm sorry, why are you calling me Sgt. Talbot? And what image was sent from this email? Do I need to run another virus scan?” Subsequent e-mails noted that, “I have nothing to talk to you about” and “I don't like being accused of shit like this. You are sick.”

In one e-mail, a reporter included a link to a TSG page that contained an excerpt from a search warrant for the contents of the account. Within minutes of the e-mail being sent to the Yahoo account, the particular TSG page, server records showed, was accessed by an IP address registered in Kuwait City.

Additionally, after TSG e-mails were sent last month to the Yahoo account, Talbott’s profile page on Netlog, a social networking site targeting European youth, was edited. His name and photo were removed from the page, which carried the handle “swlfty.” His date of birth was changed. And the photos and nicknames of seven female friends were deleted. Of those friends, four were 14, one was 15, and another was 16.

Talbott’s Netlog page, which described him as “a man of particular tastes,” was subsequently deleted in its entirety (though a screen grab of the original page can be seen here). But his MySpace page, which contains the exact profile photo that was deleted from the Netlog page, remains online. (3 pages)

Comments (91)

Dear BobMD I can't tell if you are serious here.... You mean sex prostitutes...? Or when they dress up protecting the G20 rapist bankers for example in their Mutant Ninja Turtle Drag? What if your wife was policy enforcer ossifer doc? She goes to work and is dressed up like a REAL HOT HO! Then after the big stingeroo her fellow policy enforcers get to leer at her.But they are too professional to think of her as a real whore! If your daughter walks around in Miley Cyrus' little sisters lingerie line of "clothes"dressed like a brothel whore. How you think she will act? These sting operations are nothing more that corruption training missions. Hey BobMD are you really an MD ? Do you prescribe steroids to the police before they dress up like whores to "stop crime"? heh . Policy enforcers sometimes get to do some good thing the old Serve and Protect Guys did...b4 becoming "ENFORCERS" See Stanford's (Dr.Phillip Zimbardo) "The Lucifer Effect" He's a doctor too ! Oh the Policy Enforcers will give you scare stories and a million reasons why they have to do these things while the government ABOVE them commits every form of fraud and debauchery .. So they dress up and eventually get addicted to an S and M land even kiddie stuff. Look at "President"pedo Berlusconi or the Duke of York and his pedo friend Epstein and Kate Middleton's Uncle who is a cocaine dealer who deals in prostitution. We have sickies in high places and they come up with schemes like these sex stings to find useful people who are into what they are. The police protect these people when they come to town. Notice they are exempt from arresting bankers,lobbyists and politicians ? Their pimp boss? To wear the he-man suit and run the siren and lights they have to occupy their time somehow. I think police dressing like up as prostitutes is a bad idea too BobMD d00d.
Actually, YES, some instances of police decoys as prostitutes have been thrown out as entrapment!!
How about securing our borders you money wasting incompetent kiddy-porn loving freaks? I suspect that all the people involved in Dateline NBC type of stuff are secretly into child molestation and kiddy porn and use these activities as a way to try to provide cover. Just like Pete Townsend from the Who tried to claim he was conducting "research" for a "book" when he got busted for kiddie porn._______________ Yeah, go suck a big one. All this crap and distraction is fine and dandy until 8 major American cities are hit with simultaneous thermonuclear detonation or mass release of chemical or biological agents. I think the DHS priorities are misplaced here. There are already countless other LEA’s and even private organizations assigned to these tasks. Meanwhile we could lose tens of millions of American lives all due to the fact that the federal government and especially those charged with our security can't seem to get their priorities straight and are getting bogged down and distracted in jobs that are duplicated countless times by other agencies. This is all about someone trying to get a promotion. I guaran-damn-Tee it. So how does this stop a terrorist attack again? Didn’t think so.
Hmmmm nope.With the way they act at the airports regarding children and womens with the big bewbs,and how many times they have finally been caught stealing from the passengers it looks more like they were recruiting like minded people to work with them. The man in the miltary costume would have been a great addition to DHS if the website owner didn't blow the whistle on it.
No problem going after pervs... but if you are going to do it why not try and get the home grown perverts, is there a reason to go searching for the Gary Glitters and Pete Townsends of the world to help fill out prisons? I mean come on it isn't like our jails are so empty we need to search out criminals outside the US.
In Scotland the police haven't made a single arrest for child traffiking.... They don't even pretend to run a sting like they do here. This is an International Problem due to corruption in high places. At least 80 children have been trafficked to Scotland to face sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse including forced labour, benefit fraud and domestic servitude, a report published on Monday says. The findings conclude that these cases are the tip of an iceberg, with many more child victims who have been sold, stolen and transported thousands of miles remaining unidentified. The report – Scotland: a safe place for child traffickers? – criticises police for failing to secure a single conviction for trafficking, and the authorities for their poor response to young victims' needs. In November, it emerged that a young Nigerian girl had been trafficked to Scotland, held prisoner and gang-raped. Her case was just one of several documented by the Scottish Refugee Council. Some of the children identified have been forced to work in cannabis factories and private homes and pose as dependents for benefit scams. They came from a number of countries including China, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Vietnam. The youngest was 14 years old. Child trafficking has long been considered an issue of border control, the study said, leading to those who have been trafficked being regarded as part of a problem, rather than as victims. LOOK UP HOLLIE GREIG Look up Holly Greig.The police even get in on the action! The paedophile ring included a judge, care workers, a policeman, an accountant and other leading men and women of Scotland. Robert Green was jailed in Aberdeen for reporting the story to the public.
If the FBI wants to find perverts and pedo's all they have to do is look at the comments here of people sniveling about entrapment. I guess grown men are easily trapped into searching for and opening up a pedo website. Anyone complaining about the entrapment of a pedo IS a pedo. No doubt about it. Why? Because people who are NOT attracted to kids don't give a sh*t how you perverts are caught. Cry me a river that the gov't "trapped" you into looking at how ways to get it on with little kids. How's that arguement working for you pervs? And yeah, I would rather the FBI tempt the pervs with a fictional kid than it happening to a real kid. I love how you are supporting the perv and giving them excuses of being "tempted" or "trapped". If your not a perv, go spend some time with abused children and then come back and post.
The DHS molests children at the airports. Berlusconi is a known Pedo aand World leader. Prince Andrew is involved in it with Epstein. There is too much of this going on in high places. There is plenty of child traffiking in Washington DC Nice try bubbo. Not good enough though. No one is supporting "the pervs" We just don't like them as world leaders,and the world leaders and their fake terror racket require children to be felt up before getting on a plane.
Maybe they should take a look at cop wannabes like phxheat. Frustrated detention officers making suspiciously loud accusations. We have a constitution law enforcement officers swear to protect. Read it.
The sniveling is about the waste and misuse of government resources. There's now Homeland Security, Customs, Postal Inspectors, FBI, plus state and local task forces each independently setting out traps for pedos. They probably spend 90% of their time enticing fellow law enforcement without either side realizing it. It needs to be done by one agency (say, the FBI -- that's their job).
PHXHEAT, take your accusations and STUFF them, you babbling Nazi. You want to call ME a pedo, you disgusting pervert, you spineless creepy-assed troll, you wouldn't stand in front of me and make your anonymous little accusations, you cowardly douchebag.
Yeah, the perverts are definitely upset by this story. Blamin' Obama...
Hey there Charles, don't waste your energy on obvious loser who only signed on today because of a hidden fascination with pedophilia. Clearly, this person will end up on one of those kiddie-porn sites and we'll read about him in a future edition of TSG getting caught writing to little boys and trying to molest them.
This is NOT a mission of "Homeland Security". This is FBI work. Like I said, I don’t give a damn about how “noble” their intentions are. We CANNOT save everyone and cannot save the entire world. We are broke and have run out of money trying to do so for every little bleeding heart bunch that runs around trying to save the world using tax payer money to do so. America is sick of this mentality and it is bringing down the entire nation.___________________________________________________________________________ If throwing money at every “good intention” and “noble cause” is the measuring stick, then these same people should be bowing at the feet of George Bush and praising him for his noble intentions in Iraq and now causing a wave of freedom seekers trying to throw off despots and gaining freedom throughout the Arab world. All thanks to George Bush having stepped in started the spark of freedom and deposing dictators in the Muslim world.
We are never too broke to save a child's life.
Except, you ranting ninny, SPENDING MORE MONEY has NEVER solved any problem. You're the sort who believes in unchecked government expansion AT ANY PRICE, even at the cost of American Liberty. You're the sort who is ENDANGERING America, crying that our "security" is more valuable than our Liberty. Go live in a cell with bars on the window, PHXHEAT, if that makes you feel more secure.
Uh, hate to break it to you skippy - but yeah. We are that broke and it's getting worse. Life's a bitch, and then you die.
I don't give a damn if DHS "intentions are good". That is not the point - EVER. And no, I’m not going to “applaud their efforts”. And it has nothing to do with the story and everything to do with the alarming trend of the federal government to keep trying to expand it'self and duplicate efforts countless times thus wasting more precious taxpayer money. Every single time someone in the federal government does ANYTHING at all - even wiping their collective asses – it drains more taxpayers earnings out of taxpayer wallets and leaves Americans jobless, homeless and starving in the streets.________________________________________________________ "Mission Creep" is just another code phrase for the federal government trying to constantly make itself larger while ever looking for ways to slowly crush law abiding citizens freedom and rights. _________________________________________________________________________ If this type of “Mission Creep” and federal government expansion is just "fine and dandy" with them, then why weren't half of these people just "fine and dandy" with the war in Iraq since it too was a way to grow the size, scope and expenditures of the federal government all in the name of a "good cause"? After all tens of thousands of jobs were created and billions were spent engaging the services of manufactures and other companies. __________________________________________________________________What this incident shows is yet one more example of the utterly evil, drunk-with-power, swaggering and arrogant federal government in its quest to ever expand itself and grow larger and more powerful all on the backs of the struggling taxpaying public who is constantly overtaxed to fund every little pet project these people come up with all in the name of trying to get a promotion or fund their little pet causes.
I'm all for preventing sexual predators from exploiting children, but this is not keeping America or Americans safe from "man made catastrophes" . This is a job for the FBI, state and or local law enforcement. I'm guess DHS in Cleveland is not a real high energy/high risk location.
I'm kind of disgusted that this story STARTS OUT as an exposé of Big Sis engaging in blatant entrapment, which is certainly newsworthy; but then the LAST HALF of the story completely derails from the newsworthy topic and attempts to point the finger of blame at ONE SINGLE INDIVIDUAL busted in the DHS sting operation. No, this story ISN'T ABOUT pedophiles, it's SUPPOSED to be about Janet Napolitano and the DHS engaging in entrapment, which sounds like a HUGE waste of taxpayer money and executive manpower to sting ONE, SINGLE guy. Let's just face it, Napolitano and her henchmen pose MORE OF A THREAT to American Liberty than do the pedophiles they're TRYING to sting.
It's kind of like going after heroin users rather than the purveyors of the drug. It's an easier collar. Shame on US.
Well it would be a waste of money having the soldiers guarding it in Afghanistan. Even Geraldo exposed we let them grow it just for that reason!
I am not sure why so many of you consider this operation to be entrapment. It is entirely passive, i.e., the FBI does not even initiate contact with suspects. It is likely many of these people would have attempted this crime without the creation of the phony website. For example, Talbott had already created a profile on another website for the same purpose. Moreover, he was already in possession of child pornography. This is in no way an infringement upon anyone's rights or liberties. It is simply intended to identify and punish dangerous predators. These people made the decision to attempt to break the law. I just thank God they did so with a law enforcement officer.
I'm in your camp on this issue. Whether this is or isn't entrapment makes no difference to me. Get the misfits by hook or crook.
Tough talk from a television crime show watcher.... How come they can't get President Berlusconi? How come they can't get Prince Andrew Duke Of York? Start at the top. Berlusconi changed the laws so he can sue the judge that sentences him for his pedophelia crimes! Hehhehe look at the Italian Police....led by a pedo. When you see these things in high places you have to wonder what their real motives are with these operations. I think the DHS is looking for employees they can trust that they can keep in their place if they get uppity. It's how it works in the upper strata. Compromised people do what they are told! It's how you keep corruption going.
Of course, some people simply don't GRASP the concept of "entrapment"... Laying a trap, baiting it, and enticing the predator INTO the trap by using EQUALLY DISGUSTING tactics is, yes, "entrapment"... You're MISSING the POINT of this story — the DHS undercover site was BUSTED by complaints about its DISGUSTING content. That is to say, the DHS was using taxpayer money to create a DISGUSTING trap, so disgusting that it OFFENDED people. Do you not see that, in creating this Pre-Teen Hard Core site, the DHS was CONTRIBUTING to the DISGUSTING ENVIRONMENT that they are supposedly TRYING to combat? And do you not see that it IS NOT the responsibility of the DHS to waste MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars on a criminal sting operation that has, in over a year of operation, only convicted ONE SICK GUY? This is a WASTE of our money and manpower, and it's not even the JOB of the DHS, okay, it's more a job for the FBI. Janet Napolitano and her thugs need to be INVESTIGATED for WASTING our time and money and threatening our Liberty.
It'll never happen....they are just doing their job.Their job IS supposed to be wasting money. The country is being looted and the jobs sent away. You always loot everything you can before you destroy a country. Maybe some day the gay don't ask don't tell army will come to our rescue! Heheheheehehehe
It may be you who does not understand entrapment. What you just defined is every sting law enforcement officers operate. And, I do understand the content of the website is disgusting. But, how else do you propose law enforcement officials catch disgusting criminals? As far as I can tell, DHS never distributed any child pornography. Instead, they fabricated an entity which would connect pedophiles with children. This is analogous to an undercover narcotics agent soliciting people to buy drugs from them. Moreover, I think most of you have zero idea of the actual jurisdiction of DHS and whether this type of operation falls within their purview.
Hahahha Pretty funny stuff. If they really wanted to do something they would arrest Billy Ray Cyrus and Disney. You think this is appropriate for the kiddies? Now Miley Cyrus's nine-year-old sister launches risqué clothing line for pre-teens Safe School Czar.... Lets get real folks. We live in a PORNACRACY saturated with PR bullcrap that the Gov is against this stuff.PS Don't forget to pull your pants down at the airport for them or spread them wide so they can take a picture of your and your child's "junk" They always have a big "You don't know how tough our job is!"line of crap,or threaten you with physical violence because they're taking illegal steroids to overcome the estrogen dominance in males which is a real problem when they put on a badge and a gun jacked up on roids. Next thing you know 10 of them are tasering granny and standing on her oxygen tube because she made an aggressive move in her hospital bed. Like in was justified too !
I have to say that I agree with you. I'm ok with law enforcement cracking down on pedophiles who are committing crimes, but I'm not ok with them advertising new ways for children to be victimized and feeding into these sick fantasies (travel with a female companion to avoid scrutiny, seek out adoption!). Ugh. I'm also not ok with these methods being used to lure them in. I don't think it rises to the level of illegal entrapment, but I have to wonder how many people have new ideas bouncing around in their heads as a result of these kinds of stings. And as you said, why is DHS running this investigation? Do investigators really have so little to do that they're seeking out new kinds of targets and ways to use their power? I got ripped off for $150 by c**** and a simple Google search shows many others who have been equally ripped off. For all I know, they've pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars this way, aren't declaring it as revenue, and are using it to fund terrorism. How many government agencies are looking into it? None.
DHS (Homeland Security) is funded with tens of BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars. They have been incredibly INEPT at securing our borders or preventing the attacks by IslamoFascist idiots (75 attacks in the last three years). Setting up stings to entrap a handful of pedophiles seems like a total waste of their resources. How about a sting settng up a Muslim Website to entice "potential" jihadists in this country? DHS has proven itself worthless. TSA?
This guy may very well be guilty, and I'm glad he was caught. HOWEVER my point is that if you have a wireless network in your home you need to make sure that you have it properly secured. Don't let others use it and say 'so what', because if they are doing things like the guy did in this story, the Feds will track the activity back to YOUR network address, not that of a neighbor who is just using your wireless signal. Then you will have a lot of explaining to do....
DHS, ICE and TSA are the bloody edge of FEMA's blade at the throat of freedom. Posse comitatus neatly side stepped by the Big Sis' Guardia Civil.
Okay... i just can't get away without mentioning what i'm thinking... On one hand, yes, perverts like these have serious issues, and should they act on their impulses, and traffic in such things, they need to be prosecuted to the fullest. HOWEVER. This operation makes me think of a Bank who sets a folding card table out in front of the place piled with cash with a sign that says "HERE! TAKE THIS FABULOUS CASH!" and then when someone does come up , read the sign, and snags a handful he's quickly tackled and charged with bank robbery. Would this person have actually done anything like this if the possibility weren't waved in front of his face? Next time i see a little cup at a cash register that says "leave a penny, take a penny", am i going to be arrested for shoplifting for taking a penny? i wouldn't have taken the penny if it hadn't been OFFERED.
"Upon the review’s completion, a site is either reinstated or reminated." What is "reminated"? I can't find a definition anywhere.
Makes you wonder where the government gets all these pics to lure the pedos. From their own personal collection or just borrowed from a "friend".
Good point. Makes me want to delete my family FB photos.
Makes you wonder how much criminal activity is actually just the government pretending. I suspect a good number of criminals are pushed further into their addictions because the government makes it appear as if their particular immoral or unethical inclinations are more prevalent and socially acceptable than they truly are.
I don't question that this is a good thing to do, but I am curious as to why Homeland "Security" is involved with this program. This is FBI territory and the fact that DHS is extending their tentacles into this area scares the hell out of me. Between this and project "Gunwalker" which had DHS "monitor" the transfer of weapons to drug cartels which may have been used in the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata has me thinking that their approach to our security is wrongheaded and dangerously unfocused.
I don't know which is more disturbing, the fact that the feds are tempting people to break the law so they can arrest them or the grammatical error on their webpage. Both demonstrate ignorance.
I suspect the misspelling was intentional to make it seem more plausible.