Topeka human trafficking sting sees 3 arrested, including registered sex offender

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Three men are facing felony charges Wednesday after two tried to meet with who they thought was an underage girl, and one tried to pay for sex, according to the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office.

The arrests came from a two-day human trafficking operation in Topeka, where the sheriff’s office said it was trying to find people who were preying on underage children or buying sex in the county. Maxwell L. Bergstrom, 32, and Thomas Gideon IV, 31, both face charges of electronic solicitation and sexual exploitation of a child. Bergstrom was already a registered sex offender, and so the sheriff’s office said he faces an additional charge of violating the offender registration act.

Dwayne Heston. (Courtesy Photo/Shawnee County Department of Corrections)

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Dwayne A. Heston, 44, of Topeka, also faces charges including buying sexual relations and unlawful use of a communication facility, according to the sheriff’s office. Heston’s arrest came on Monday separately from Bergstrom and Gideon’s, and the sheriff’s office didn’t release any other details regarding this case.

During the Tuesday portion of the operation, Bergstrom and Gideon both separately made plans to meet with who they thought was a 15-year-old girl at home alone, according to the sheriff’s office. When they arrived, deputies arrested them and booked them into the Shawnee County Department of Corrections.

Maxwell Bergstrom’s offender registration mugshot from 2015. (Courtesy Photo/Kansas Department of Corrections)

Bergstrom had to register as a sex offender after he was found guilty of an October 2009 offense in Johnson County for aggravated indecent solicitation of a child under 14. That county’s court records indicate a judge sentenced him to nearly three years of jail time and three years of probation. The state’s offender records show he served time in El Dorado Correctional Facility before going to Lansing Correctional Facility and taking a sex offender treatment program.

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State records also showed Bergstrom previously violated the offender registration act in May 2012. Shawnee County Court records list that violation as a felony that went to a jury trial. Bergstrom pleaded guilty in that case, and a judge added on 18 months of prison time on top of what he was already serving for his 2009 offense.