By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A former Wyoming legislator was arrested this week in a sting operation focusing on human trafficking in Sweetwater County.
Former state Sen. John Martin Hastert was arrested Thursday, according to the roster from the Sweetwater County Detention Center, and charged with soliciting an act of prostitution and interference with a police officer.
Jason Mower, public information officer for the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that Hastert was one of four men arrested in a prostitution sting in Rock Springs.
The sting was the culmination of a weeklong training session involving multiple organizations, including the SCSO, Uprising Wyoming and Sweetwater Against Trafficking, Mower said.
During the sessions, an expert taught the officers and volunteers about human and sex trafficking.
“The way that the training is set up, they will conduct a live trafficking operation that targets buyers,” Mower said.
He compared the sting to the operation run in “To Catch a Predator,” the former “Dateline NBC” segment that saw police and volunteers engage in chats with men who were looking for sex with underage teens.
“Even prior to the arrests on Thursday, there were officers in class who were in contact with people who were potentially not good,” Mower said.
He added that Hastert’s charge for interference with a police officer stemmed from his resisting arrest when officers attempted to take him into custody.
As of Friday morning, it appeared Hastert remained in the detention center, awaiting an appearance in circuit court in Sweetwater County.
The Rock Springs Democrat served four years in the state House, from 2003-2006, and for 12 years in the Senate, from 2009 through 2018, where he rose to the position of Senate Minority Whip.
Hastert was defeated in his 2018 re-election campaign by Republican Tom James.