Sheriff’s deputies identify 20 arrested in underage sex sting

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Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 10:37 am

Deputies arrested at least 20 suspects during the past two weeks in an investigation into online solicitation of minors, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara announced.

In a Wednesday press conference, the sheriff said detectives spent three weeks pretending to be children online. They ended up arresting men and women from McLennan, Bosque and Limestone counties who thought they were meeting up with “young, underaged teenagers.”

Suspects suggested meet-up locations ranging from their own homes to their places of work to engage in sex acts with minors during their lunch break.

Detective Joseph Scaramucci said others wanted to meet at popular Waco restaurants and shopping centers, such as Taco Bueno, Central Texas Marketplace, an H-E-B grocery, Home Depot, Whitehall Park and McDonald’s.

McNamara said those arrested varied in age from 19 to 63, and detectives made five arrests in a single day of the investigation.

“The response was incredible; these creeps came out of the woodwork,” he said.

In a 12-hour period, there were close to 180 responses to the detectives’ online posts, he said, adding he was surprised at the response.

“I don’t think any of us had any idea we would end up with this amount of actual arrests,” McNamara said.

He declined to release the exact websites involved and categorized those arrested as child predators.

“I think it’s extremely dangerous. These people are shopping in the same places we shop,” he said.

McNamara emphasized the importance of educating children, especially if they are going to use the Internet.

Detective Brad Bond gave examples of ways to stay knowledgeable about children’s activities, such as maintaining access to Facebook accounts and looking over phone records.

“Parents do need to monitor what their kids are doing. All of these people agreed to meet up around the time school was ending,” Bond said.

Scaramucci and Bond said they thought of the idea while brainstorming ways they could be more preventive, rather than simply responding to assaults after they occur.

The two spent several hours outside of work texting and messaging the suspects to keep up the investigation, and they said they would continue this type of sting now that it has proved successful.

“If you’re online thinking you’re going to meet children for sex, just bear in mind you might be speaking to me or Brad,” Scaramucci warned.

Each of the 20 people arrested have been charged with online solicitation of a minor.

Deputies say additional charges are being added, including tampering with evidence, federal probation revocation and tampering with government documents.

Those arrested are:

Cody Lowenthal, 29, of Groesbeck, arrested at Central Texas Marketplace

John Hinson, 25, of Lacy Lakeview, arrested at a Wal-Mart store

Rhakeem James, 22, of Waco, arrested at a Dollar Store

Charles Thiel, 19, of Hewitt, arrested at a gas station

Chelsea Robinson, 22, of Lacy Lakeview, arrested at a Home Depot

Raymond Shattuck, 29, of China Spring, arrested at an H-E-B

Dale Patrick, 30, of Cranfills Gap, arrested at a Taco Bueno

Cory Eary, 28, of Lorena, arrested at an IGA

Charles Ramirez, 19, of Hewitt, arrested at an apartment complex

John Rodriguez, 22, of Waco, arrested at Cargill

Conner Beam, 19, of Woodway, arrested walking down Estates Drive

Breonna Smith, 20, of Waco, arrested at home

Jonas Green, 63, of Hewitt, arrested at home

Chris Aguilar, 33, of Waco, arrested at home

Ruben Gonzalez, 25, of Mexia, arrested during a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 84

William Vasquez, 20, of Waco, arrested at Whitehall Park

Chris Pena, 28, of Waco, arrested at home

Eduardo Briseno-Perez, 27, of Waco, arrested at a McDonald’s

Brandon Selenksky, 19, of Waco, arrested at a friend’s home

Laramie Jowers, 24, of Waco, arrested at Service King Collision Repair

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