Judge William Brewer reduced bonds Monday afternoon for two men accused of soliciting underaged girls during a recent online sex sting operation.
Sweetwater resident Upendrakumar S. Patel’s original bail of $1 million was decreased to $100,000.
“There are no GPS (monitoring) conditions,” Brewer said, citing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold that limits the Telford Road resident’s flight risk.
Patel, 36, is from India.
Brewer also reduced bail for 28-year-old Detroit resident Aaron Darrell Fomby from $500,000 to $100,000.
Patel and Fomby were arrested and charged with soliciting underaged girls for sex July 19 during a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation operation conducted with the Alcoa and Maryville Police departments and the Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force at the La Quinta Inn in Alcoa.
The operation used police decoys who placed ads on several websites while posing as adult prostitutes and children.
Defense attorney Marcos Garza had requested Patel’s bond be dropped to $50,000, citing his lack of a prior criminal history, which Brewer conceded.
Fomby’s defense attorney, Charles Deas, had asked to reduce his bail to $25,000, citing financial constraints.
A state regulation also prohibits courts from imposing excessive bail on defendants who aren’t qualified to be released on their own recognizance, Deas said.
“The maximum bond amount on a person for a felony that is not homicide is $50,000,” Deas said.
Deas also contested whether Fomby should have been charged with sexual servitude of a child 15 or younger near a school or park since he said the wording implied Fomby would have been in a position to financially benefit from the act.
Fomby also didn’t restrain the intended victim, Deas said.
Blount County Assistant District Attorney Sean Parks protested Deas’ request to lower bail, citing Fomby’s prior convictions in Michigan for third-degree larceny, domestic violence and marijuana possession.
He currently is serving seven years of parole for a 2015 heroin trafficking conviction in Kentucky.
Fomby testified that he will remain in Knoxville at a relative’s home during the proceedings after Deas provided the court with a copy of a lease.
A third defendant in the case, 38-year-old Knoxville resident Orlando Moreno-Martinez, was present in the courtroom with his attorney, public defender Stephanie Jernigan, but didn’t have a hearing.
Moreno-Martinez’s bond hearing was moved back until 1:30 p.m. Sept. 9.
A fourth defendant, 45-year-old Knoxville resident Donald Turner, told the court he will hire legal counsel.
Turner was charged with promoting prostitution and was released on a $6,000 bond after his July 20 arrest.
Turner’s next hearing will be at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 12.