HSI, Local Task Force, Stop Fire Chief From Preying on Children
Dangerous child predator sentenced to 58.5 months to life
PASCO, Wash. – Former Fire Chief Otis Garbe, received an indeterminate 58.5-month to life prison sentence Wednesday, with the additional conditions of lifetime community custody and registration as a sex offender, after attempting to meet a female child he believed was 13 years old for the purpose of having sex in a Richland, Washington, park.
A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and South East Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (SER-ICAC) task force arrested Garbe who communicated with undercover investigators on a popular internet website for nearly two months. At the time of arrest Garbe was the fire chief for Walla Walla, Washington Fire District 6.
“Sexual exploitation of a minor is one of the most depraved crimes committed against humanity, and this case is especially disturbing given Garbe’s position as the fire chief,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. “This sentence serves as a reminder that HSI is committed to collaborating with its local, state and federal partners to bring justice to those who exploit children.”
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 19,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.
For more information about HSI’s child exploitation mission, please visit ice.gov/investigations/child-exploitation.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.