Officers arrested 22 people ages 19 to 52 in Operation "Mayday" who were traveling from all over Georgia and South Carolina with the intent to have sex with a child, Richmond County Sheriff's officials say.
Several law enforcement agencies in Georgia took part in the sting, an undercover investigation targeting online child predators that took months of planning.
A swimming pool attendant, a pharmacy technician and a grocery store worker were also among those arrested, which included 2 people from South Carolina.
"Online child predators visit chat rooms and websites on the Internet, find children, begin conversations with them, introduce sexual content and arrange a meeting with the children for the purpose of having sex," officials said in a press release.
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree called a last minute press conference Monday morning about the operation that started Thursday and ended early Monday morning.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes unit worked closely with the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
"We are actively seeking child predators," Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said.
Sheriff Roundtree calls Operation Mayday a success in preventing several child predators from attacking again. The operation allows officers to go into undercover chat rooms with potential predators disguising themselves as teens.
Special agent Debbie Garner says 6 of the people arrested admitted to previous sexual contact with a child.
"They were coming to meet children 14 and 15 years old, in the past they've come to meet children as young as 10," Garner said.
Among the many people arrested is 19 year old Heather Myers who serves as an Army soldier at Fort Gordon, and 52 year old Ruben Reese who is a deputy jailer. Garner says there's no stereotype when it comes to child predators.
"In this operation there were at least 2 of the people were with the intent of trading something of value in order to have sex with the child," Garner explained.
She says officers also found child pornography on several of the arrestees computers and cell phones. As for specifics on how they captured these predators… she says that's top secret because they want to be able to use operation Mayday again.
Sheriff Roundtree also said there could be more arrests on the way. Those arrested were charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation.
No bail has been set for them and they will remain in jail until they go in front of a judge to face their charges
The following were arrested and charged in Richmond County as part of "Operation Mayday":
1. Thomas Michael Moxley, Jr., from Aiken, SC, 43 years of age, occupation = tire store employee
2. Cody Allen Bondurant, from Martinez, GA, 23 years of age, occupation = actor
3. Paul Ellis Kitchens, from Augusta, GA 44 years of age, occupation = funeral home director
4. Richard Dean Tyndall from Evans, GA, 24 years of age, occupation = electrician
5. Leon Cornelius Holley, from Grovetown, GA, 20 years of age, occupation = retail stocker
6. John Kenneth Crowley, from Augusta, GA, 30 years of age, occupation = unemployed
7. Kyle Andrew Negus, , from Augusta, GA, 26 years of age, occupation = software programmer
8. Travis Demond Driggers, from Louisville, GA, 34 years of age, occupation = correctional officer
9. Matthew Kyle Sears, from Augusta, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = tire store employee
10. Matthew Robert Tyndall, from Augusta, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = restaurant manager
11. Cody Justin Pobanz, from Augusta, GA, 27 years of age, occupation = crane tech
12. Christopher Anthony Titre, from Martinez, GA, 22 years of age, occupation = grocery store employee
13. Jordan Andrew Waters, from Beach Island, SC, 22 years of age, occupation = pharmacy tech
14. Ruben Ellis Reese, from Martinez, GA, 52 years of age, occupation = Deputy Jailer
15. Nicholas Sebastian Barber, from Martinez, GA, 23 years of age, occupation = pool attendant
16. Ian B. Shelby, from Martinez, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = university student
17. Everett Ryan Lewis, from Baxley, GA, 21 years of age, occupation = laborer
18. Heather Elyssa Myers, 19 years of age, Fort Gordon, GA, occupation = soldier
19. Reginald Martinez Grubbs, from Waynesboro, GA, 40 years age, occupation = truck driver
20. Jordan Blake Roberts, from Grovetown, GA, 21 years of age, occupation = US Air Force Airman
21. Nicholas Michael Hopkins, from Evans, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = landscaper
22. Tyler Alexander Judkins, from Evans, GA, 19 years of age, occupation = student
-- Info from WJBF-TV
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