Hartford police have charged four people following an undercover operation

Four people are facing charges following an undercover operation conducted by Hartford police to “target and combat the exploitation of children,” police said.

Lt. Aaron Boisvert said Saturday that the department’s Special Investigations Division conducted the operation Friday at an undisclosed location with assistance from the Major Crimes Division, Southeast and Northeast Community Service Officers and the FBI Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Task Force.

The operation took place at an undisclosed hotel in the city of Hartford, he said.

Boisvert said the operation included undercover law enforcement personnel “assuming the identity of the aunt of a 15-year-old girl on the Internet and engaging in dialogue with the subjects.”

“During the online discussions, individuals reached agreements to engage in monetary transactions in exchange for sexual relations with an underage female,” Boisvert said in an email. “The subjects checked their arrival at the location and were then given a specific room number by detectives.”

The four people went to the hotel room and “were greeted by an undercover detective posing as a juvenile,” Boisvert said. “The targets were then quickly taken into custody by an arrest team.”

The four people were taken into custody and taken to the Special Investigations Unit for debriefing, Boisvert said.

Jonathan Almonte, 32, of 147 Fairfield Ave., Hartford; Aqib Bakawala, also 32, of 400 N Main St, Manchester; Angel Rodriguez, 29, of 70 Redfield Ave., East Haven; and Michael Huang, 35, of 198 Grand St., New York, NY, are each charged with criminal attempt/illegal sexual contact with a minor under 16 years of age, second-degree criminal attempt/assault, and criminal attempt/commercial sexual abuse of a minor, Boisvert said.