21 arrested in 'Operation Interception' child sex investigation
BROOKHAVEN, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - An undercover investigation had lead to the arrest of 21 men who officials say travelled to DeKalb County "with the intent to meet a child for sex."
"Operation Interception" started on Wednesday, Jan. 30 and continued until Super Bowl Sunday as a joint undercover investigation between the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and over 20 other agencies and centered around Brookhaven.
During the operation, the task force used sites "known to be used to advertise for the sex industry" and made one arrest of an individual accused of arranging to pay for sex with a minor.
The other arrests came from using dating and social media applications where police say "those arrested had sexually explicit conversations with whom they believed to be a child and most of those arrested traveled to meet a child for sex."
In total, authorities say over 63 cases met the threshold for arrest, with 21 of the cases ending with a suspect being arrested.
According to officials, the arrestees ranged from 20 to 55 years old and ranged from living in Georgia to New York. Multiple people arrested in the operation were in possession of suspected illegal drugs, police said.
“Our message is simple: if you think you’re coming to Brookhaven to meet a child for sex, you’re likely to find us instead. This behavior will never be tolerated here.” GBI Special Agent in Charge and Commander of the Georgia ICAC Task Force Debbie Garner said.
The suspect arrested were:
- Nicholas Alexander Bowen, Chamblee, GA, 29, ride sharing and delivery driver
- Thomas Cheung, A/M, Alpharetta, 32, gaming studio employee
- Jeshua Elijah Collins, Suwannee, GA, 22, deli clerk
- James Tunde Fadeyi, Lithonia, GA 55, unemployed
- Walter Gonzalez-Amaya, Norcross, GA, 22, maintenance worker
- Larry Allen Gordon, Hampton, GA, 31, fast food restaurant employee
- Zachary Tye Gourdine, Conley, GA, 28, crane operator
- Dylan Michael Graham, Silver Creek, GA, 27, elevator mechanic
- Richard Jason Hyder, Elizabethton, TN, 41, asphalt grinding contractor
- Mitchell Allen Kennedy, Brooklyn, NY, 24, software company creative assistant
- Raheem Lalani, Birmingham, AL, 26, unemployed
- Marco A. Mendoza-Escalante, Riverdale, GA, 20, paving technician
- Darwin Menjivar-Fernandez, Powder Springs, GA, 22, restaurant server
- Juan Valencia-Patino, Jesup, GA, 22, student
- Juan Manuel Sanchez, Woodstock, GA, 25, automobile mechanic
- Junior Cornelius Timoteus, Atlanta, GA 25, restaurant server
- Oscar Ramirez, Atlanta, GA, 39, construction worker
- Dylan Golding Whynot, Kennesaw, GA, 32, behavioral health case manager
- Kyle A. Williams, Stone Mountain, GA, 32, warehouse employee
- Robert Tyler Wilson, Canton, GA, 31, automotive service technician
- Tarno M. Walters, Lawrenceville, GA, 22, grocery store employee
All 21 people were arrested under either the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007 or charged with trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude. More charges and arrest may be coming.