(Meredith) — Twenty men were arrested as part of an undercover operation targeting potential sexual predators, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Monday.
The four-day effort, dubbed “Operation Paladin,” was centered in Bartow County and took several months of planning.
During the investigation, which began Nov. 1, detectives posed as minors on social media platforms. Authorities said the suspects, ranging in age from 20 to 59, communicated with and solicited sex from who they thought were children.
“In some of those cases, the subject introduced obscene or lewd content, often exposing the minor (undercover agent) to pornography or requesting the child take nude or pornographic images for them,” the GBI said in a press release.
The suspects allegedly traveled around Northwest Georgia with the intent of meeting a child for sex.
One person who was arrested was a registered sex offender. Multiple suspects were in possession of suspected illegal drugs. Another person was arrested in possession of a firearm.
The men were charged with human trafficking for labor sexual servitude, and/or under the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007, authorities said.
A dozen law enforcement agencies worked together on the operation, including the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
The names, ages, residences, occupations and charges of those arrested are listed below:
- Randall Ball, W/M, Acworth, GA, 25 years of age, grocery stocker
- Bailey Brown, W/M, Jasper, GA, 29 years of age, emergency home repair responder
- Richard Brown, W/M, Trion, GA, 53 years of age, mill worker
- Steven Byers, W/M, Jasper, GA, 33 years of age, electrician
- Bryan Cain, W/M, Calhoun, GA, 36 years of age, unemployed/college student
- Jeffrey Coleman, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 52 years of age, glass technician
- Michael Crider, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 51 years of age, CAD operator
- Daniel Dorough, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 56 years of age, self-employed landscaper
- Daniel Ewart, W/M, Cartersville. GA, 38 years of age, tow truck driver
- Shawn Jeffrey, B/M, Powder Springs, GA, 26 years of age, pest control technician
- Clarence Mann, W/M, Kingston, GA, 59 years of age, truck driver
- Vernale Mascall, B/M, Cartersville, GA, 25 years of age, fast food worker
- Rick Paul, B/M, Dallas, GA, 25 years of age, Certified Nursing Assistant
- Isaac Sanchez, H/M, Summerville, GA, 20 years of age, painter
- Charlie Smith III, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 45 years of age, patient care technician
- Thomas Smith, B/M, Rome, GA, 43 years of age, delivery driver
- Timothy Smith, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 57 years of age, customer service
- Conner Thrash, W/M, Woodstock, GA, 28 years of age, truck driver
- Michael Turner, W/M, Villa Rica, GA, 37 years of age, unemployed
- Michael Wills, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 34 years of age, tree service employee
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