CLARKE COUNTY, Ga. — Nine men were arrested on child exploitation charges after GBI and FBI investigators said they traveled across northeast Georgia to meet up with minors for sex.
The arrests were the culmination of a monthslong, multi-agency sting operation called Operation End Game that was based out of Athens, according to GBI spokeswoman Natalie Ammons.
Thirteen mobile phones were seized as evidence in the sex sting, Ammons said. Investigators had more than 200 exchanges with people on social media platforms over a three-day period that started Thursday, she said.
“Many of those were exchanges in which the subject initiated contact with whom they believed to be a minor and directed the conversation towards sex,” she said.
In some cases, the subject would send lewd content or pornography to the person they thought was a minor or ask them for nude photos.
Ammons said some of the men were communicating with multiple investigators posing as minors at the same time.
“Such activity confirms what investigators uncover conducting these types of investigations: that many predators specifically seek out minors on such websites to groom them as potential victims for sexual contact,” she said.
The following were arrested and charged in Clarke County on a felony count of computer or electronic pornography and child exploitation:
- Morgan Andrews, Maxeys, 27, mold repair technician
- Joseph Kelly, 44, Statham, assembly line worker
- James Morriss Jr., Dacula, 49, sales representative
- Andrew Schafer, Winder, 53, project manager
- Deointe Sims, Athens, 25, assembly line worker
- Fredrick Smith, Royston, 29, fast food/food delivery service employee
- Michael Turner, Covington, 46, shipping/receiving employee
- Zachary Turner, Colbert, 19, unemployed
- Noe Villafuerte, Winterville, 44, landscaper
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