CUMMING, Ga.—Twenty-four people were arrested as a result of an undercover investigation coordinated by local authorities.
“Operation Just Cause” was a four-day operation directed by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office High Technology Crime unit that began Sept. 5 and resulted in the arrest of 23 men and 1 woman on sex crimes including computer or electronic pornography and human trafficking.
Two of the individuals were registered sex offenders.
According to the sheriff’s office, additional charges may be forthcoming.
“The goal of Operation Just Cause was to arrest persons who communicate with children online and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said. “Additionally, the operation targeted those that are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex with a minor.”
Thirteen additional law enforcement agencies participated in “Operation Just Cause” as members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force. The agencies assisting in the operation included: Johns Creek-Alpharetta-Forsyth County Drug Task Force, Alpharetta Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd County Police Department, GBI, GBI-Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center, Gwinnett County Police Department, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Johns Creek Police Department, Lilburn Police Department, Roswell Police Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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.
Over the course of the operation, a number of cases were established that met the threshold for arrest, and 24 resulted in arrests.
Those arrested ranged in age from 19 to 65, traveled from areas around north Georgia and other states with the alleged intent to meet a child for sex, officials said.
One of the individuals that was arrested was in possession of suspected illegal drugs.
Thirty-one mobile phones were seized as evidence during the operation. One person identified in the operation was a current state prisoner in the Department of Corrections system using an illegally possessed phone smuggled inside the prison, according to the statement.
During the multi-day operation, investigators had numerous exchanges with subjects on various social media or internet platforms. In many of the interactions, the subject initiated contact with someone whom they believed to be a minor (but who was actually an undercover agent) and directed the conversation toward sex. In some of those cases, the subject introduced obscene or lewd content, often exposing the “minor” to pornography or requesting the child take nude or pornographic images for them.
Although some websites promote themselves as being for “adults-only” it is not uncommon for law enforcement to work cases in which children access these sites, establish profiles claiming to be older, and then find themselves vulnerable to victimization. Several subjects were identified as communicating simultaneously with multiple investigators posing as minors, according to the sheriff’s report.
The suspects arrested and charged in Forsyth County were: Robert Harley Martin, 38, Dahlonega; Erik Delgado, 26, Gainesville, Ga.; Alan Thomas Bryant, 40, Murrayville, Ga; Kyle Alexander Williams, 32, Stone Mountain; Roger Kyle Nicholson; 44, Gainesville, Ga.; Jacob Perry Yeamans, 61, Madison, Wisc.; Rene Mauricio Posada; 29; Marietta; Jackson Cain Butler, 20, Calhoun, Ga.; John Andrew Odell, 40, Cumming; Michael Keith Coker, 29, Augusta State Prison; Richard Edward Hazelwood, 49, Roswell, Ga.; Johnathon Dale Butler, 25, Palmall, Tenn.; Mackenzi Faye Stinson, 19, Palmall, Tenn., Mahesh Kumar Saroj, 35, Alpharetta; Christopher Scott Taylor, 29, Cumming; Joseph Ryan Lisnock, 22, Gainesville, Ga.; Dylan Blair Nessmith, 23, Johns Creek; Austin Wayne Rhodes, 22, Alpharetta; Daniel Dennis Rogan, 47, Witchita, Kan.;
Jason Lee McIntyre, 35, Gainesville, Ga,; Gavin Austen Peppers, 21, Bowman, Ga; Jimmy Webster Roy, 21, Gainesville, Ga.; Anthony Christian Ceja, 23, Lawrenceville; Steven Charles Vinnenberg, 65, Cumming.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force is comprised of over 230 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices. The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the U. S. Department of Justice and managed and operated by the GBI in Georgia, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases.
This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education.
Arrests made by the Georgia ICAC Task Force have been steadily increasing over the last 3 years. In 2014, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 196 arrests. In 2015, it made 244 arrests in 2015, and in 2016, it made 340 arrests. In 2017, the organizatioon made 350 arrests.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force has made over 2,000 arrests since its inception in 2002.