WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah, March 12, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A trucker is facing a charge of felony attempted human smuggling after an undercover sting in Washington County.
A probable cause statement from the 5th District Court of St. George said Joseph Gendreau, 59, is facing a charge of attempted human smuggling, a second-degree felony, and two counts of enticing a minor by Internet and text, a class A misdemeanor.
On March 10, the arresting officer, working as a member of the Utah Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking task force, accessed the mobile application Grindr. The undercover officer presented himself on the app as a 16-year-old gay male looking to meet people in the St. George area.
The undercover officer received a message from a man who identified himself as Joseph.
“Joseph stated he was a truck driver from Minnesota and his truck broke down so he was staying in St. George for a few days,” the statement said. “Joseph asked me if I liked Xbox and video games, I confirmed I did but I could not afford one and mine was recently taken away from me. Joseph continued to express that he had multiple brand new Xboxs and large TVs.”
The suspect told the undercover officer he was looking for a “son” to live with him and travel with him, the statement said.
“I expressed that I was wanting an Xbox and TV, Joseph stated ‘lol well you could just come home with me lmao,'” the statement said. “Joseph proceeded to send me pictures of his residence and stated ‘that’s my house clothing optional of course.'”
Gendreau sent the undercover officer a picture of a man and said that he had been taking care of that individual since he was 16 and they sleep together, shower together, and cuddle, but that he was looking for someone who “likes to be closer,” the statement said. The officer told Gendreau that he was 16 and turning 17 later in the month.
“Joseph stated ‘even if you’re younger I’d still let you do what ever you wanted to,'” the statement said. “Joseph said he was looking for a son, I asked him what it would be like to be his son, he stated ‘we would just have a long term relationship cuddle hug the whole nine, I pay all the bills and expenses you just be yourself.'” Gendreau said the undercover officer could travel with him and also allegedly made a suggestion of a sexual nature.
The suspect also said he makes $5,000 to $6,000 per month and would take care of food, clothes and “everything else,” the statement said.
He also offered to meet the undercover officer in person. He then allegedly propositioned the officer again.
The suspect also revealed his last name. The officer found a driver’s license for him and the photograph matched the one on his Grindr profile. It was also found that Gendreau has had several out-of-state charges and convictions involving minors.
Gendreau arranged to meet the undercover officer at a store. Gendreau was then apprehended by law enforcement.
A search warrant was served on his hotel room. Lubricant, condoms, and a new Xbox were allegedly located. The Xbox had been purchased that same day.
After being read his Miranda rights, Gendreau said he had been arrested in the past for child sex crimes and served 13 years in prison. He allegedly admitted that he met the other minor he talked about in Minnesota when he was 16 and developed a relationship with him and was sexually active with him.
Gendreau denied that he was intending to do anything sexual with the undercover officer posing as the 16-year-old.
He was transported to Washington County Jail, where he is being held without bail. He was on probation or parole at the time of the incident.