FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – 14 Central Valley men have been arrested on charges related to trying to arrange sex with minors.
It’s the result of an undercover multi-agency operation called “Operation Boogeyman”.
17 law enforcement agencies worked together to track down these suspected sexual predators.
“We launched this operation due to the fact that children are using electronic devices and social media now more than ever,” said Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni.
In a press conference Tuesday, Sheriff Zanoni talks about the operation and their push to protect valley kids being stalked online by would-be predators.
In just two days last week, 14 men were arrested on multiple charges including trying to arrange a meeting with a child for sex.
“Not only 14 suspects arrested, there were an additional 30 individuals who were chatting with our detectives regarding this type of behavior and soliciting children for illegal sexual activities” added Zanoni.
The suspects range from 21 years old to 58 years old found in Fresno and Tulare counties.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s office released a sting video showing two of the men arrested in this operation.
In one part deputies can be seen pulling up to a home and arrest one of the suspects and another is taken into custody on a sidewalk and his belongings are searched.
“There is no place for these heinous crimes in California or anywhere, The California DOJ will not tolerate sexual exploitation of our children,” said Steven Woolery, CA DOJ Bureau of Investigation.
“Victims have done nothing wrong and we’ll do everything we can to ensure predators face justice,” said Mark Remily, Asst. Special Agent FBI.
Breaking down the sex predator arrests in Fresno County:
- In 2020, they had Operation Covid Chat Down, 34 arrests were made.
- In 2022, Operation H.O.O.K. made 19 arrests and this year – Operation Boogeyman arrested 14 sex predator suspects.
“Parents monitor your kid’s social media, find out what they’re doing online, their phones, their tablets. They’re minors feel free to check on them and inspect them. This is how were going to combat this problem, preparedness, awareness, and intervention,” added Zanoni.
The sheriff also mentioned another 30 people were chatting with detectives in this operation, so more arrests could be on the way.