Former Grand County sheriff’s deputy arrested in sexual predator sting
March 20, 2015
One of the five men arrested during a recently completed Operation Predator sting in Weld County was a former Grand County lawman.
On Thursday, The Greeley Tribune received an anonymous tip that Daniel Keith Ellis, 57, of Berthoud was a former deputy with the Grand County Sheriff's Office and possibly a past investigator with the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Hot Sulphur Springs.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin confirmed Ellis was employed as a deputy from 1994-99.
Fourteenth Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey said Thursday he didn't recognize Ellis by name, but there's a good chance the two never worked together. Barkey joined the 14th Judicial District in 2007, but left after 10 months to serve as a U.S. Marine Corps prosecutor in New Orleans. He returned in August 2011 when he was hired as the 14th's assistant district attorney, before his appointment to district attorney a year later.
Barkey said he would check the employee records, but he was not able to confirm or deny if Ellis was ever employed by the 14th Judicial District as of late Thursday.
Ellis was arrested March 5 during an Operation Predator child prostitution sting conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Weld County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado State Patrol. An HSI undercover agent, posing as a mother of two, posted an advertisement on http://www.backpage.com offering her 11- and 14-year-old daughters for sex. The girls used in the ad do not exist.
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According to court records, Ellis responded to the online advertisement and met with undercover agents in a motel parking lot in Greeley, where he paid $250 to have sex with both fictitious girls for a period of two hours.
Ellis was arrested after the money was exchanged. He is charged in Weld District Court with two counts of soliciting a child prostitute, a felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison. He remains in Weld County Jail in lieu of posting a $100,000 bond.