LCSD: 17 men arrested in operation targeting online predators

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, seventeen men have been arrested in a month-long operation that targeting adults contacting children for sexual activity. Authorities say another man is wanted in connection with messages he sent to law enforcement officers who were posing as children on social media.

“We, along with the Lexington Police Department and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, served as the host agencies for this operation,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “Officers pretended to be underage teenagers as the suspects messaged them through apps. Some even had phone conversations with officers. After the suspect asked to meet with ‘the child,’ detectives were staged at a predetermined meeting spot to arrest them.”

Koon said most of the messages sent contained sexually explicit content.

“The intent of these suspects during these communications is clear,” Koon said. “They were trying to persuade, entice or coerce someone they reasonably believed to be under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity.”

Officials say more than a dozen law enforcement agencies worked together on this operation.

Authorities say the following individuals were arrested and charged in connection with this operation:

  • William Banks, 51, Liberty, South Carolina – attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18

  • Steven Bradley, 42, West Columbia – two counts of attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, unlawful carry o f a handgun

  • Darrin Bray, 40, Greenville, Illinois – attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor

  • Kevin Carpenter, 26, Evergreen, North Carolina – attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18, criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual

  • conduct with a minor

  • Brian Cates, 54, North Augusta, South Carolina – criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18

  • Geoffrey Dudding, 36, Charlotte – conspiracy to commit criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted promoting

  • prostitution of a minor

  • Mark Frick, 54, Gaston – attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor

  • Keair Fuewell, 23, Gloverville, South Carolina – criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18

  • Landon Gibson, 40, Simpsonville, South Carolina – three counts of attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18, criminal solicitation of a minor

  • Kane Hicks, 23, Darlington, South Carolina – attempted sexual exploitation of a minor

  • Walter Huggins, 45, Camden, South Carolina – criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person

  • under 18

  • David Jones, 51, Pelion – attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor

  • Willie Manning, 57, Winnsboro, South Carolina – criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor

  • Joshua Paczowski, 21, Lexington – attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor

  • Misael Quezada, 31, Blythewood – criminal solicitation of a minor

  • Eric Setterberg, 54, Gadsden, South Carolina – attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor

  • Charles Templeton, 74, Gaston – criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted disseminating obscene material to a person under 18

Sheriff Koon says no children were used or placed in danger during this operation.

Categories: Lexington, Local News