Sep. 1-A sting operation involving multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies has come to a close, resulting in 16 people being booked for arranging sex acts with a minor.
Multiple local law agencies collaborated on "Operation Link Up," which targeted predators in the Central Valley.
During the operation, which ran from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28, officers posed as 13-year-olds and 16-year-olds on social media sites. Over the next three days, 16 adults from Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties responded to the decoy juveniles, allegedly soliciting them for sexual acts.
"We would like to remind parents and guardians to please monitor their children's online activity. We need everyone's help to prevent these crimes from taking place," said Sgt. Nate Ferrier, public information officer for the Kings County Sheriff's Office.
Suspects arrested during the sting included: Edward Zuniga, 45, of Hanford; Christian Loeffler, 35, of Lemoore; Miguel Guarchaj Gomes, 29, of Visalia; Timothy Rankin, 60, of Exeter; Netzahaulcoyotl Trujillo, 39, of Hanford; Josefat Gutierrez, 46, of Hanford; Jose Huerta Garcia, 36, of Hanford; Domingo Martinez, 40, of Mendota; John Cha, 22, of Fresno; Alberto G. Martinez, 34, of Yettem; Chris Raymond Brown, 40, of Hanford; David Spry Burks, 20, of Hanford ; Phillip Noe Sesate, 19, of Hanford; Luis Morales, 22, of Lemoore; Sergio J. Cervantes-Serna, 47, of Hanford; and Samuel Mendoza, 39, of Visalia.
All suspects were arrested and booked into the Kings County Jail on various charges related to arranging to meet a minor for sexual acts, meeting at an agreed upon location for sexual acts and sending sexually explicit materials to a minor.
Also during the operation, detectives with the Lemoore Police Department posed as adults looking to be paid for sexual acts on several social media outlets. During the operation, Eric A. Jauregui, 33, of Hanford was arrested for soliciting prostitution, bringing the number of people arrested to 17.
According to Ferrier, Operation Link Up was a collaborative effort by the KCSO, the Hanford Police Department, the Lemoore Police Department, the Kings County District Attorney's Office Kings County Major Crimes Task Force and the California Department of Justice Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Team.