Lake Linden man jailed in child sex case

Arrest part of Upper Peninsula predator investigation

Michigan State Police

MARQUETTE — A Lake Linden man is charged with several felonies after being arrested as part of an investigation regarding sexual predators of children in the Upper Peninsula.

Erick Alatalo, 43, waived his arraignment in Marquette County Circuit Court July 14. He has been lodged in the Marquette County Jail since June 20, when he was arraigned on four felony charges in 96th District Court.

As part of the investigation, a trooper from the Michigan State Police 8th District Hometown Security Team had contact with Alatalo while posing as a minor. Alatalo began conversing with the trooper and soliciting to meet up with the person he thought was a minor for sexual relations, the MSP said in a news release Thursday.

On June 16, detectives conducted surveillance at the arranged meet-up spot, where a female trooper assisted as a decoy, the MSP said. As Alatalo pulled into the parking lot, he made contact with the decoy trooper and asked her to come out.

Alatalo exited his vehicle and began walking towards the decoy. As he approached her location, he was taken into custody, the MSP said.

He was arraigned on four counts: child sexually abusive activity; accosting a child for immoral purposes; and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.

The first carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the second is punishable by up to four years.

The computer charges carry different sentences based on the underlying crime of which the subject is accused. The first, where Alatalo is accused of a 20-year felony, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. The second, a four-year felony, is punishable by up to seven years.

The Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET), MSP Negaunee Post troopers and detectives, MSP Canine Unit, and the 8th District Computer Crimes Unit assisted on scene.

Anyone with information regarding additional victims with this suspect or area is asked to contact the Michigan State Police 8th District Headquarters. Mail can be sent to Michigan State Police, 8th District Headquarters, 1924 Industrial Pkwy., Marquette, MI 49855. The post’s phone number is 906-225-7030.


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