38 arrested in sting operation, 18 child predators
A Fort Jackson officer was charged in July with solicitation after he allegedly tried to hire a prostitute, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Fernando Guadalupe was arrested on July 10 as part of an investigation that targeted people trying to solicit for prostitution or to solicit minors, authorities said. Sheriff Leon Lott on Thursday announced the arrest of 38 people in an effort called Operation Full Armor.
Guadalupe does not face any charges related to minors.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department set up ads online at websites like Craig’s List and Back Page as part of Operation Full Armor, a state and federal initiative.
After responding to one of the online ads, Guadalupe showed up at a home where he believed a prostitute was waiting, said Capt. Maria Yturria, Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson. Instead he was met by authorities who arrested him.
Fort Jackson issued a statement Thursday evening saying it was aware that a Fort Jackson soldier had been accused of sexual misconduct. “The soldier has been suspended from his duties pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The statement said the fort was cooperating with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. “The Fort Jackson leadership takes these allegations seriously. Sexual misconduct is inconsistent with Army values and the Army profession.”
The Army’s website says Fernando Guadalupe Jr., a colonel, became head of Fort Jackson’s Leader Training Brigade in January 2017. The brigade is meant to “strengthen the United States Army by training its leaders to succeed now with a core focus on Leadership, Resiliency, and Physical Fitness,” according to the Leader Training Brigade website.
Recently, Guadalupe was in charge of implementing a new basic combat training program designed to give recruits more time and specific training with their assault rifles, according to the military news website wearethemighty.com
Graduating from Georgia State University in 1994 with a bachelor’s in business, Guadalupe was commissioned as an Army Aviation officer, according to his bio on the brigade website. He was deployed in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008 to 2011 and served as the Resolute Support Mission director of staff at NATO headquarters before coming to Fort Jackson.
He has received the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with “V” Device, and the NATO medal.