TULARE — The TCSD developed a strategic plan to stop internet crimes against children. Dubbed “Operation Baby Face,” the campaign was not only designed to stop those who might prey on underage children, but also to educate parents and children.
Their three-pronged message is: “1) engage your children and know what they are doing; 2) educate your family about the dangers of the internet; and 3) enforce the rules and hold your children accountable.”
Phase I was announced on August 11 when the Sheriff’s Office took down a human trafficking ring with 3 arrests and 12 co-conspirators.
Phase II was announced on August 22, with 7 arrests in an operation similar to the “To Catch a Predator” program.
Phase III involved sex offender compliance checks on Halloween. 3 were arrested and 15 were out of compliance.
Phase IV conducted an undercover decoy operation wherein a deputy presented herself as an underage child willing to meet up. A total of 2,800 “friends” were established, and 80% of them were adult males.
This phase netted arrests of Brock Pearson (39), Fernando Chavez (27), Javier Hernandez (22), Benjamin Lopez-Herrera (23), Hector Ornelas (24), Jonathon Hernandez (25), Steven Albertson (27), and Raymond Lopez (52).
Phase V is where the TCSD will make presentations in service groups, schools, pamphlets, billboards, and further operations such as this one.
“Talk to your children,” Sheriff Boudreaux said. “You are the parents. Look at what your children are doing online. Be a concerned and protective parent. Speak to your children. Ask the difficult questions. We are here for you.”