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38 arrested in local child pornography sting

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 10:42 PM CST
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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford announced details Monday of Operation Watchdog, which wrapped up last Friday. The week-long, undercover operation targeted registered sex offenders and predators in Bay County.

“The undercover officer will somehow indicate that they are underage and these individuals continue with these very dark, sexual conversations and then in most cases, agree to meet with the thought that they are meeting with a child,” said Ford.

Ford said the operation consisted of three phases, leading to the arrest of 38 individuals. Panama City Beach Police Lieutenant JR Talamantez was one of the people tasked with communicating online, to what he said are potential predators.

“Every time we launch into an investigation involving this type of crime, it’s always different. Sometimes it’s worse than others, but I can tell you this time, it was a real active investigation,” said Talamantez.

Talamantez said this investigation was an eye-opener, because more people are on social media due to the pandemic. He adds predators can contact children quicker and easier than ever before.

“The fact is, if you give your child a cell phone and you don’t set up parental controls, you’re making a mistake and setting them up for absolute failure,” said Talamantez.

Talamantez said officials can lecture all day, but at the end of the day it’s the parents who have to be the barrier between online predators and their children. Sheriff Ford says while they are working hard to catch the sex offenders and predators, that parents should still be taking precautions at home and monitor what their children do online.

“I like to say to parents that there’s no fourth amendment in your home, so parents have the right to search their kids’ phones and monitor their activities,” said Sheriff Ford.

All 38 arrested were men between the ages of 26 and 69. Sheriff Ford said 29 were already registered sex offenders. He adds specifically, six were arrested during face to face contact with offenders, 29 were arrested during the online sting operation and three were arrested for online investigations involving downloading and sharing of child pornography. For all of the mugshots, visit Bay County Sheriffs Office Facebook Page.

Those arrested were:

Christopher T. Hernandez, age 26, of Enzor Street, on two charges of Failure to Register Proton mail & Discord Social Media Accounts

Wallace Griggs, age 41, a transient, on charges of Failure to Register Address and 60 charges of Possession of Child Pornography

Aaron Archer, age 41, of Baldwin Road, on charges of Failure to Register Social Media Accounts (Discord & Twitch accounts)

Ron Wooden, age 49, of Dolphin Drive, on charges of Failure to Register Vehicle, and Face Book, Instagram, Gmail, & Twitter accounts

Gregory Carver, age 28, of Betty Louise Drive, on charges of Failure to Register Vehicle and Kik Social Media Account

Mary Martin, age 52, of Smith Road, on charges of Failure to Register AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, and Instagram Social Media Accounts

Scott Amberg, age 69, of Eastwood Avenue, on charges of Failure to Register Proton Mail and Discord Township Social Media Accounts and Google Account

Damon Calen, age 43, of Lake Suzanne Way, on charges of Failure to Register Trailer

Erik Reed, age 32, of Steeplechase Drive, on charges of Failure to Register Reddit & Instagram Accounts

Kevin Zerbe, age 55, of B Street, on charges of Failure to Register Gmail Account and Violation of Probation

Kevin Fayas, age 36, of Plum Nearly Road, on charges of Failure to Register Pub G Application

Daniel Cherico, age 40, of Hwy 231, on charges of Failure to Register Trailer

Laken George, age 28, of Leslie Lane, on charges of Failure to Register Discord, Instagram, Reddit, and Grindr Accounts

James Mabry, age 35, of Flight Avenue, on charges of Failure to Register Instagram Account

Kevin Weaver, age 52, of Eastwood Drive, on charges of Failure to Register Gmail, WhatsApp, Xbox Accounts

Paul Parker, age 56, of E. 9th Street, on charges of Failure to Register Facebook & Violation of Probation

Robert Morgan, age 36, of Anderson Road, on charges of Failure to Register Xbox, Playstation, and Roblox Accounts

Willie Dean, age 60, a transient, on charges of Failure to Register Address and Violation of Probation (Warrant from 2020)

James Scholl, age 57, of Indiana Avenue, on charges of Failure to Register Instagram and Vehicle

Billando West, age 63, of E. 8th Street, on charges of Failure to Register Address (Warrant from 2019)

Robert Pence, age 63, of Deep Springs Road, on charges of Failure to Register Telephone, Tik Tok, & Gmail Accounts

Sean Jansen, age 27, on Montana Avenue, on charges of Failure to Register Vehicle (two counts), Gmail, YouTube Accounts, and Employment

Ronald Eakins, age 57, of Bonita Avenue, on charges of Failure to Register Address (Warrant from 2020)

Danny Waller, age 37, a transient, on charges of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sexual Act, Possession of Meth, Possession of Paraphernalia

Neil Hawley, age 40, of Dothan, Alabama, on charges of Traveling to Meet A Minor For Sexual Act, Solicitation of a Minor For Sexual Act, Use of 2-Way Comms Device, Distribute Obscene Material To A Minor

Eddie Kemp, age 57, of Acme Lane, on charges of Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sexual Activity

Terry L. Lynch, age 47, of Sherman Avenue, on charges of Sexual Battery (Warrant from 2021)

Dannon Glover, age 38, of Sale Road, on charges of Promoting the Sexual Performance of a Child

Kenneth Gabbard, age 39, of Boatrace Road, on charges of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sexual Activity, Transmit Harmful Materials to A Minor (four counts)

Brian Geary, age 51, of Willoughby Bay Drive, on charges of Possession of Child Pornography (three counts)

Christopher Davenport, age 27, of West Street, on charges of Travel to Meet a Minor for Sexual Acts

Aaron Vickers, age 34, of W. 19th Court, on charges of Possession of Child Pornography (five counts)

Sasha Brown, age 48, of Amanda Circle, on charges of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sex / Failure to Register as A Sex Offender / VOP Lewd and Lascivious Molestation (Failure to Register Grindr account)

Roy Carver, age 51, of Woodland Road, on charges of Failure to Register as a Sexual Predator

Donald Stewart, age 44, of Hwy. 390, on charges of Failure to Register as a Sexual Predator

Bernard Sinclair, age 60, of Westwood Drive, on charges of Failure to Register as a Sexual Offender

Robert Swearington, age 35, of Sandra Grace Road, on charges of Failure to Register as a Sexual Offender

Charles Hagel, age 35, of Huckleberry Lane, on charges of Failure to Register as a Sexual Offender

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