Forsyth County

Missionary claiming to sell Bibles among nearly a dozen charged in metro child solicitation sting

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested 11 people across North Georgia in a sting, all accused of trying to solicit underage kids in internet crimes.

“Operation Masquerade” was conducted over the course of three days last weekend by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Alpharetta Police Department, Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Among the arrested was Salvador Alejandro Vazquez, 33, of Lawrenceville, who told investigators he was “a missionary from Guatemala here selling bibles in the United States legally,” a news release from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

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Erick Rafael Garban-Ochoa, 31, of Stone Mountain, was said to be an illegal alien from Venezuela. Investigators said he claimed he “crossed the border illegally 1 month 14 days before this arrest.”

“Endanger our children in Forsyth County and you will find out what jail and no bond looks like. I am very proud of our Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and appreciate the unwavering support of our partner agencies during this operation,” Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said. “Simple message here: you want to harm a child -- not in Forsyth County. This is a wake-up call for all our parents. Make sure you know your child’s online activity.  There are predators waiting to do harm if they have the opportunity.”

Here is the full list of those people who were arrested:

  • Carlos Ortiz-Penado, aka “Rafael,” 37, of Gainesville. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor and trafficking of persons for labor or sex
  • Salvador Alejandro Vazquez. aka “Salva,” 33, of Lawrenceville. Charged with child molestation and computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor
  • Erick Rafael Garban-Ochoa, 31, of Stone Mountain. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor
  • Tucker Pigott, 29, of Cumming. Charged with illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor and trafficking of persons for labor or sex
  • Srinath Banothu, 28, of Waleska. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor
  • Cody Wood, 33, of Dahlonega. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor and trafficking of persons for labor or sex
  • Israel Ibarra-Hinojosa, 30, of Ringold. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor
  • Tahir Taylor, 24, of Loganville. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor
  • Peter Heintz, 39, of Marietta. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor and computer crime: obscene internet contact with a minor
  • Brett DelRosso, 33, of Woodstock. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor and hold for Cherokee County
  • Michael Kinser, 29, of Lilburn. Charged with computer crime: illegal solicitation, entice or seduce a minor, failure to obey traffic control device and fleeing or attempting to elude

The sheriff’s office said there are warrants pending for another five people tied to this sting.

“This is the 2nd operation of this type in Forsyth County. Operation Just Cause led to the arrest of 24 people in 2019 for similar charges. All 24 of those have either pled or were convicted of these serious crimes,” the sheriff’s office said.

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