ICE Nabs 16 Child Sex Predators In Sting Operation

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrest a criminal alien in south Florida as part of a regional law enforcement operation last week / ICE PHOTO

YAKIMA, Wash. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in cooperation with law enforcement partners, apprehended 16 dangerous sexual predators targeting children this week in a sting operation that lasted several days.

HSI agents were an integral part of the Washington State Patrol (WSP) led investigation, dubbed “Operation Net Nanny” and a partner agency within the WSP’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF).

HSI is a worldwide leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. Since the advent of the internet, sharing and trading child pornography now predominantly occurs online. MECTF draws on HSI’s unique investigative and enforcement authorities to safeguard children.“The crimes these individuals were seeking to engage in are completely reprehensible,” said Eben Roberts, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle. “Were it not for the efforts of HSI and our law enforcement partners, these criminals would still be actively searching out child victims. I commend all of those involved for their dedication to protecting the innocent, by eliminating these individuals from the community.”

“While the internet is a powerful tool for information in people’s lives, criminals use the same technology to commit unspeakable crimes against vulnerable populations including the young. Working with our local, state, and federal partners in law enforcement in operations like Net Nanny, we use every available resource to pursue the guilty and protect the innocent.” says WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “This operation is aimed at protecting our vulnerable children and making our communities safer.”

From November 16, 2019, to November 18, 2019, undercover law enforcement officers used various internet websites and phone applications to communicate with child sexual predators. The would-be perpetrators, who were arrested during the operation, traveled from throughout Washington and Idaho to meet with minors, some as young as eleven years old, and were apprehended by the undercover detectives who were posing as those minors.

Chief Matthew Murray with Yakima Police department stated, “As parents of six children, and foster parents to forty other children, my wife and I cared for and lived alongside child victims suffering horrendous abuse. I have set the single priority of the Yakima Police Department as the reduction of violent crime. This operation absolutely helps us achieve that objective. I am grateful to our law enforcement partners for their leadership in this important endeavor – but also humbled by the long hours and diligent work of YPD staff who tirelessly gave to hold child predators accountable. The victims in these cases are amongst the most vulnerable in Yakima – hopefully this will be the first step in protecting them from further violent crime.”

The collaborative effort involving more than 70 dedicated law enforcement officers, agents, and staff led to the success of this operation. Those agencies involved include: HSI, Yakima Police Department, Union Gap Police Department, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office, Law Enforcement Against Drugs Task Force (LEAD), South East Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (Richland, Benton County, Kennewick, HSI), Washington State Patrol, FBI, and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

“Arguably, one of the most heinous and despicable types of crime that we prosecute are predatory sexual assaults upon our children,” said Yakima County Prosecutor Joseph A. Brusic. “Adults who target, whether directly or indirectly, young children to engage in intercourse or other sexual acts destroy the very fabric of childhood and the innocence that goes along with that time. Tragically, social media and the rampant use of current phone technology has assisted in these acts being committed. It is with great pride that the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office is joining together with the Washington State Patrol, Yakima Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office to root out these predators and assist in their investigation and prosecution to create greater public safety here in Yakima County with Operation Net Nanny. The cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies to further the goal of public safety involving children is a testament to our dedication and commitment to their well-being and health.”

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated, “As a parent, I’m proud to partner with the Washington State Patrol and Yakima County Prosecutor to ensure those who would prey on children are held accountable. These operations are a testament to what interagency partnerships can accomplish. I applaud the excellent work of the Washington State Patrol task force and local law enforcement. My office is proud to partner with law enforcement across the state to protect Washington children.”

Primary crimes investigated were attempted rape of a child in the first degree, attempted rape of a child in the second degree, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, communication with a minor for immoral purposes and sexual exploitation of a minor.

The following individuals were arrested during the operation:

  • Thomson, Frederick W., 67, Union Gap, Washington
  • Tschauner, Bradley V., 29, Ephrata, Washington
  • Raymond, John B., 59, Yakima, Washington
  • Erlandson, Hayden A., 22, Yakima, Washington
  • Curry, David E., 34, Kennewick, Washington
  • Littlebull, Kendrick y., 20, Yakima, Washington
  • Martinez, Lucas N., 34, White Swan, Washington
  • Gaidaichuk, Veniamin N., 28, Everett, Washington
  • Robertson, Richie H., 21, Yakima, Washington
  • Atkins, Brent M., 40, Naches, Washington
  • Hernandez, Christian, 24, Union Gap, Washington
  • Ramirez, Jessie J., 29, Yakima, Washington
  • Sanchez, Breton L., 18, Yakima, Washington
  • Randhawa, Rakinder S., 26, Sunnyside, Washington
  • Hudson, Fidel A., 25, Yakima, Washington
  • Cool, Benjamin J., 24, Nampa, Idaho
  • Robertson, Richie H., 21, Yakima, Washington
  • Atkins, Brent M., 40, Naches, Washington
  • Hernandez, Christian, 24, Union Gap, Washington

“HSI is committed to eradicating individuals from our communities who seek to prey on children,” said Eben Roberts, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “HSI’s agents, in cooperation with our law enforcement partners, work tirelessly to find and bring to justice, individuals who commit these heinous crimes. Moreover, we are dedicated to rescuing from harm’s way our most precious population – our children – and those who seek to harm them should consider this a warning.”

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