Three Fort Drum soldiers charged in child sex sting

Fort Drum officials welcomed a delegation of New York state senators Sept. 20 for a daylong tour of the installation. The majority of the visiting party were members of the committee on veterans, homeland security and military affairs, chaired by State Sen. John Brooks, who represents the 8th Senate District, and State Sen. Patty Ritchie, the ranking committee member who represents the 48th Senate District. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Rylee Kirk


Watertown, N.Y. — Nine North Country men, including three Fort Drum soldiers, and a man from Kentucky, tried to meet children for sex, state police said.

The men all thought they were meeting up with children to have sex and then were arrested, said Trooper Jack Keller, a spokesperson for state police.

The men contacted children online through multiple platforms, Keller said.

The Kentucky man, Travis R. Petrey, 35, was working in Jefferson County as a travel nurse, Keller said.

Troopers believe there may be more victims who have not come forward, they said.

The following men were charged with second-degree attempted rape:

  • Travis R. Petrey, age 35 from Barbourville, KY
  • Rene L. St. Pierre, age 54 from Ogdensburg, NY
  • Michael J. Steria, age 49 from Carthage, NY
  • Brian T. LaPlatney, age 29 from Harrisville, NY
  • John W. Brown, age 47 from Chaumont, NY
  • Aimin Jiang, age 34 from Watertown, NY
  • David L. Eads, age 51 Brownville, NY

The following men were active Fort Drum soldiers

  • Jonas Santaella – charged with attempted sexual assault of a child and attempted pandering
  • Devir Walker – charged with attempted sexual assault of a child
  • Aaron Alonzo Vazquez – charged with attempted sexual assault of a child and pandering

If you think a child has been victimized online contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber tip line (877) 474-KIDS, troopers said.

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