The operation targeted online child predators.
Detectives involved in the operation were from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit. They feigned as minor children through various websites and apps. These detectives received many invitations from child predators who agreed to meet for obscene acts with a minor.
Undercover detectives arrested the suspects when they arrived at the meeting location, while others were arrested at their homes, the sheriff’s office revealed.
The arrests have been made between May 20 and July 17 and include 15 people aged 21 to 54. Two registered sex offenders are also on the list.
“The most troubling thing is every single one of them was charged with trying to arrange a meeting with the minor for sexual acts. There would have been a lot more victims out there if we didn’t do these types of operations.
When you get on the internet and you act like a juvenile, [child predators] will come. These people cannot help themselves; they cannot control themselves,” Donny Youngblood, the Kern County Sheriff stated at a press conference this Monday.
An employee at the California Correctional Health Care Services, Ricardo Mancillas, 54, of Bakersfield, was taken into custody when he arrived at the location intending to meet a minor.
California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Pardue, 51 was arrested from his Bakersfield home on July 3. He has been convicted of contacting a minor with the intent to perform lewd acts and arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd acts. Pardue has allegedly confessed to creating a fake social media account and pretending to be his wife to lure a 16-year-old into arranging sex acts with him.
CHP Bakersfield Area Commander Capt. Scot Loetscher said in a statement that Pardue has been fired from CHP on July 24 and that CHP will be conducting their investigation while cooperating with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
Two registered sex offenders, Edward Daniel Gonzales and Donald Lee Self, both 44, were arrested separately. The others charged during the operation were: Devon Armstrong, 25; Noah Gause, 21; Jeffrey Perez, 30; Mathew Porcho, 35; Anthony Morales, 27; Gene Brimage, 45; Edgar Mati Jr., 30; Miguel Martinez, 29; Michael Peterson, 26; and Everardo Viramontes, 42; Albert Wesley Blankenship, 49.