Detectives in Johnson County, Indiana, have arrested 11 men seeking sex with minors during a 3-day undercover joint sting operation that lasted from May 10 to May 12, according to multiple reports.
Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess said in a press release that undercover agents set up fake online profiles on certain sexual websites to exchange messages with suspects while posing as underaged children, WPTA reported.
The fake accounts would very clearly state to the suspects that they are having a conversation with a minor, Burgess noted.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) said the latest operation was conducted in conjunction with the Franklin Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It was the third child sex solicitation sting operation conducted in Johnson County in the last two years.
“Parents need to be very vigilant in reviewing the sites that their children are visiting whether on their computers or mobile devices. We cannot be our child’s best friend all of the time,” Burgess said. “You must be diligent in this process in order to protect them from the evil that exists on these sites and social media.”
The JCSO on Monday released the identities of the suspects taken into custody as part of the sting operation.
- Jeff Hendricks, 49. Arrested for alleged child solicitation and resisting law enforcement.
- Samuel Kaufman, 20. Arrested with suspicion of child solicitation.
- Joshua Sliter, 30. Arrested for alleged child solicitation and providing obscene material to minors.
- Derick Sosa, 19. Arrested for suspicion of child solicitation and resisting law enforcement.
- Jason Thornton, 40. Arrested for alleged child solicitation, possession of methamphetamine, habitual traffic violator, possession of a firearm as a felon, and forgery.
- Francisco Bernardo Amaya Marquez, 25. Arrested with suspicion of child solicitation.
- Dylan Cole Muncy, 22. Arrested for allegedly providing obscene material to minors.
- Chase Maxwell Reese, 30. Arrested with suspicion of child solicitation and providing obscene material to minors.
- Nicholas Sorley, 22. Arrested for alleged child solicitation.
- James W. Thomas II, 35. Arrested with suspicion of child solicitation and possession of marijuana.
- Dustin Ussery, 35. Arrested for alleged child solicitation.
The sheriff said that some of the suspects were willing to travel great distances to meet with the individual they believed to be a minor.
Sliter was more than 112 miles away from his residence when he was taken into custody by undercover agents who had exchanged messages with him earlier while posing as an underaged child, WISH reported.
During prior sting operations in 2020 and 2021, officials arrested a total of 18 individuals on charges that include child solicitation and providing pornographic pictures to juveniles. One suspect was also charged with drug possession.