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14 arrested in largest child predator sting in Mooresville police history – WSOC TV | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


MOORESVILLE, N.C. — The Mooresville Police Department arrested 14 people with internet crimes against children in the largest child predator operation in the department’s history.

“This is the 2020 version of jumping out of the bushes or handing out candy to a little kid to lure him away from their parents,” Chief Ron Campurciani said.

Campurciani made the announcement in a news conference on Friday. The arrests were the result of Operation Artemis, which ran from May 28 to 30. It was made up of several local, state, and federal agencies.

The suspects range in age from 25 to 78 and are from as far away as Gretna, Virginia.

Investigators said the suspects used online platforms to contact minors. Those include ChatApp, Discord, DoubleList, Facebook, FetLife, Grindr, Mega Personal Ad, Skip the Games, and Sniffies.

The minors the suspects were meeting for sexual activity ranged from 13 to 15 years old, authorities said.

“This operation saved lives of countless children,” Chief Campurciani said in a statement.

Preparation for the operation began six months ago, when software alerted police to conversations about sex with children. That’s when investigators used various online platforms to chat with the suspects.

Campurciani said after multiple messages between the suspects and investigators, they would then tell the suspect to meet them at a house for sex. They said one of the suspects drove from Virginia — three hours away from the meetup location.

The police chief described the crimes as a parent’s worst nightmare.

“These are the reasons parents, when they go out, hold their child’s hand a little tighter,” Campurciani said. “That’s why their heart stops when you’re out with your child and you can’t see him for a few minutes, and you don’t know where they are in the spectrum. And it’s because of people like them that are still out there.”

The chief said one of the suspects said he was a bus driver at some point in his life.

Police said the following suspects were arrested during the operation:

  • Brandon Cassiano, 30, of Mooresville was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Kenneth Lanning, 78, of Clayton, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing, felony third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and felony second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
  • Joshua Lara, 27, of High Point, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Thomas Trickett, 65, of Cornelius, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Dawson Davidson, 25, of Taylorsville, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Paul Corkery, 45, of Concord, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Nien Eya Y, 45, of Charlotte, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing and felony soliciting prostitution of a minor.
  • Elvin Rodezno Rodriguez, 39, of Charlotte, was charged with felony soliciting prostitution of a minor.
  • Michael Smith, 55, of Charlotte, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Wilbur Cole III, 28, of Gretna, VA, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Aaron Mark Mayhew, 33, of Cherryville, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Christopher Bell, 29, of Mooresville, was charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution.
  • Eutiquio Chavez, 36, of Concord, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.
  • Daniel Yachnin, 28, of Cornelius, was charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer and appearing.

There’s still an outstanding warrant for Jose Beristain Solis, 39, of Mooresville, for felony solicitation of a child by computer.

Additional arrests are expected.

(WATCH BELOW: Suspect shot, killed by officers in Kannapolis during child predator investigation)

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