A high-tech sting operation landed 25 accused online child predators behind bars last week, officials announced Friday.
Using screen names like “Bear Hug” and “somefun4unme,” Harris County men thought they were luring young teens into their clutches, but in fact were chatting with law enforcement officers involved in the multi-agency bust headed up by the Harris County Sheriff’s High-Tech Crime Unit.
Over a three-day period from Sept. 7 to Sept. 9, officers posing as children chatted with suspects using a variety of mobile apps.
“These persons subsequently made arrangements to meet with underage children for the purposes of sexual assault and were intercepted by law enforcement,” Sheriff Ron Hickman said in a statement.
Some of the men arrived at the meet-ups armed, and one – Romarcus Marshall – showed up with his 2-year-old child in tow, a brazen move Hickman called “the height of selfishness.” Marshall, who went by the username “lilroe32” was already out on bond for an unauthorized operation of a motor vehicle charge, police said.
Cesar Rodriguez, a licensed security officer with Fort Bend County Security Services, posed as a Fort Bend County police officer.
All 25 suspects were booked in the county jail on second-degree felony online solicitation of a minor charges.
This year, 77 similar charges have been filed countywide, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told reporters.
Story provided by Houston Chronicle.
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