British Columbia

Former firefighter charged after police sting targeting alleged sexual predators

A former firefighter arrested in an extensive Vancouver police sting targeting predators allegedly willing to pay teenagers for sex acts has now been criminally charged.

Mitchell Brett Maurer was one of 47 suspects arrested after months-long operation, police say

Forty-seven suspects were arrested after a months-long operation by Vancouver police in late 2018. Eight have been charged so far. (Christer Waara/CBC)

A former firefighter arrested in an extensive Vancouver police sting targeting predators allegedly willing to pay teenagers for sex acts has now been criminally charged.

Mitchell Brett Maurer was one of 47 suspects arrested after a months-long operation in late 2018. Detectives posing as girls between 15 and 17 years old posted ads with fake photos on escort sites and social media, arranging hotel meetings with suspects willing to pay a fee for an agreed sex act.

Suspects who showed up at hotels were arrested by waiting police, officers said.

Maurer, born in 1980, is now charged with obtaining for consideration the sexual services of a person under the age of 18. The District of North Vancouver confirmed he used to work there as a firefighter, but did not say when or under what circumstances his employment came to an end.

"It would be inappropriate for us to provide further comment," a district spokesperson said in an email to CBC News.

Announcing the dozens of arrests to reporters in January, Vancouver police deputy chief Const. Laurence Rankin said the accused came from "all walks of life," including a retired school teacher, a former Vancouver school trustee and a firefighter — now confirmed to be Maurer.

Vancouver police Deputy Chief Const. Laurence Rankin announced the arrests at the Vancouver police headquarters in the city on Jan. 23, 2019. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Maurer's name was not confirmed until he was formally charged.

A list of the men now charged is as follows:

  • Mario Celo Amistad
  • Jim Malmros
  • Jun Jie He
  • Nikolaos Dais
  • Mitchell Brett Maurer
  • Donald Schroeder
  • Kenneth Clement
  • Mehran Arefi

Amistad, 50, pleaded guilty to communicating for the sexual services of a child on Aug. 15. He is set to be sentenced on Feb. 14, 2020.

The other men, excluding Maurer, have all pleaded not guilty.

Maurer is due in court on Oct. 28.