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Suspected sexual predators arrested in online chat operation | News | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


An operation utilizing online chat rooms and platforms and conducted by the Turlock Police Department, in partnership with the Sacramento Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, led to the arrest of 17 men on various felony sex-related charges.

The arrests included one man from Newman, according to the police department.

The Sacramento Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is comprised of detectives investigating crimes involving child exploitation on the internet and pursue those involved with manufacturing and distributing child pornography. These crimes include: Online child enticement; child exploitation; manufacturing and /or possession of child pornography; distribution of child pornography; travelers (adults meeting children for sex); and sexually explicit conversations (text or application-based programs or through the internet).

The mission of the operation with the Turlock Police Department was to catch predators that were seeking to meet with underaged children for the purpose of sexual activity. In the operation, law enforcement, under the guise of being minors, went into established online chat rooms, like those associated with multiplayer video games, social media platforms, chat apps, among others and waited to see who would strike up a conversation with them and for what purpose.

The operation took months of planning and was carried out over the course of two days — Jan. 5 and 6 — and saw 17 men reach out to the “children” with the purpose of some sort of sexual activity. Twelve of the arrestees were local, while the remaining five were out of county residents, with one traveling as far as Elverta, Calif., a distance of more than 100 miles.

The suspects arrested were:

◆ Antoni Shahbaz Yangejeh, 35, of Turlock was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

◆ Juan Viera Jr., 29, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex, arranging to meet a minor for sex and possession of matter depicting sexual conduct involving a minor.

◆ Fernando De La Cruz, 36, of Elverta was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

◆ Devin Greer Dacanay, 22, of Turlock was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

◆ Aaron Doub, 41, of Turlock was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex, arranging to meet a minor for sex and attempted lewd or lascivious acts with a child.

◆ Justin Velez, 37, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex, arranging to meet a minor for sex and soliciting or engaging in prostitution.

◆ Mario De Jesus, 37, of Turlock was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and possession of matter depicting sexual conduct involving a minor.

◆ Armando Cardenas, 32, of Atwater was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex, arranging to meet a minor for sex and possession of metal knuckles.

◆ Leopoldo Garcia Aquino, 25, of Livingston was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex, arranging to meet a minor for sex and soliciting or engaging in prostitution.

◆ Salvador Nunez, 28, of Turlock was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex.

◆ Cesar Linarez Jr., 25, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion

of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

◆ Bryce Wilkinson, 19, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

◆ Gerard Slayton, 42, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

◆ Jose Herrera Sanchez, 54, of Stevinson was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex (two charges), arranging to meet a minor for sex, inducing a minor to use marijuana (two charges) and transporting a controlled substance.

◆ Andrew Godinez, 21, of Delhi was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex, arranging to meet a minor for sex and resisting arrest.

◆ Jesus Cerna Bernabe, 29, of Newman was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and a warrant.

◆ Anthony Morrisette, 41, of Oakdale was arrested on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

All individuals were booked into the Stanislaus County Jail with majority being held on a $500,000 bail. As of Tuesday morning, three had bailed out, while the others remained in custody.

This independent investigation was not related to any recent arrests or investigations, said Turlock Police spokeswoman Dominique Sanchez. She said the police department does plan on conducting future operations similar in nature.

In addition to the Sacramento Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, other agencies participating in the operation were the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office Special Victim’s Unit, State Parole, and Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit.

“Thank you to our partnering agencies who took part in this operation,” said Turlock Police Detective Gina Giovacchini, who orchestrated and led the operation. “Without their collaborative efforts, this operation wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was. Their assistance helped keep our youth safe. Keeping our children safe from predators will continue to be my number one priority.”

“This operation was the culmination of months of planning by the Turlock Police Department and cooperating agencies,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden. “I am proud of Detective Gina Giovacchini and our team for their efforts to intercept those looking to harm children in our community.”

The Turlock Police Department ask that anyone with information to call Detective Giovacchini at (209) 668-6539. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at [email protected].





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