Nine valley men are facing charges after a five-week, nation-wide sting targeting online sexual predators:
Richard Cervantes, 32 of Fresno
Raul Rosario, 31 of Fresno
David Hutchinson, 48 of Fresno
Derek Garcia, 35 of Fresno
Mathew Broadway, 30 of Clovis
Fabian Lopez, 27 or Corcoran
Danny Reynoso, 42 or Corcoran
Sean Eberle, 37 of Lemoore
David Godinez, 28 of Visalia
There were 255 arrests across the country. With guns drawn, a task force in Los Angeles surprises a suspected online child predator. He is one of hundreds arrested in an operation called iGuardian. A total of nine men in the valley were arrested which was the second most of any region in the nation.
"The message is, 'We're good at what we do.' I don't believe we have more of it than any place else, I believe we're being very aggressive in protecting our children in this area," said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
34-year-old Derek Garcia reportedly threw his laptop over his fence when agents went to his Fresno home. He was already a registered sex offender. Agents say not all suspects have offended in person, but online activities can sometimes lead to other crimes.
The Fresno County Sheriff's Department teaches 43 agencies how to find online predators with it's ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) task force.
"The technology makes it easier for them to prey on children, but also it'll make it easier for us to find them and catch them," said Mims.
Congressman Devin Nunes, who represents Fresno and Tulare counties is glad so many suspects have been caught.
"This is one of those cases where the federal government and people working in the federal government should be congratulated for their ability to look ahead and focus on a problem before it gets out of hand," said Nunes.
For tips on ways to keep your child safe while online, click on the "related links."