By Jennifer Brice

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators who go undercover in of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s to bring pedophiles to justice have been told to stop.

The task force is run by the First Judicial District Attorney’s office and aims to keep children safe from internet predators.

The Unit, nicknamed “Cheezo,” has been in place since 2005.

(credit: Jefferson County)

An image of some of the people arrested as a result of “Cheezo” investigations (credit: Jefferson County)

Investigators go online portraying themselves as children, and the result has been more than 900 arrests since the inception of the program.

First Judicial district attorney Pete Weir says there may be pedophiles out there that think this is a glorious day, but he cautions them.

He also cautions defense attorneys, who Weir says motivated the dissolution of his unit.

“I caution defense attorneys. This work is going to continue. It may not continue in the Jefferson county DA’s office but it’s going to continue in a law enforcement agency.”

Weir says the shutdown of the undercover portion of the unit was motivated by a defense attorney writing a letter to the attorney regulation council. That council oversees all attorneys.

Weir says this begins with a case out of Gilpin County involving Carlos Rayas Silvas. He was investigated by the Cheezo unit and eventually convicted for sexual exploitation of a child. He was sentenced to 24 months of intensive therapy.

(credit: Jefferson County)

(credit: Jefferson County)

His defense attorney, Phil Cherner, wrote a letter to the Attorney Regulation Board claiming the unit is an ethical violation because employees of the DA’s office are doing the undercover work as oppose to a police department.

Weir says he’s been fighting this shutdown for a year. In the end, the attorney council told the DA if they dissolved the undercover portion then a formal complaint would not be filed.

Weir says the unit may have to go but his office will still go after pedophiles.

“We’re going to redouble our efforts to identify and prosecute those individuals that are going to prey on some of our most vulnerable.”

CBS4 spoke with Cherner by phone. He wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the case but says, “The Colorado Supreme Court makes it clear that lawyers can’t lie” and believes the unit’s work was deceitful.

Cheezo has also been a pilot program for other law enforcement agencies across the country and is nationally recognized.

First judicial office spokeswoman Pam Russel said the change to the unit won’t affect any cases already charged and arrested, but may halt the current investigations that the unit was working on.

Cheezo also educates children and parents in schools talking about internet and cellphone safety each year. That educational portion will still go on.

Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.