Federal Bureau of Investigation

13 Arrested in Denton County Online Solicitation Sting

Sheriff's deputies made the arrests Jan. 23-24

Denton County sheriff's deputies made 13 arrests Jan. 23-24 in a sting operation, designed to catch people looking to have sexual intercourse with a minor, according to a Wednesday statement by Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree.

The statement said 11 of the people arrested agreed to meet a minor for sex at a local location, while two others agreed to meet, but did not show up. Sheriff's deputies arrested the latter two individuals after they obtained search warrants.

The Denton County Sheriff's Office said it used online chats, personal advertisements and covert social media to communicate with the people they ultimately arrested.

All 13 people arrested were charged with online solicitation of a minor -- some with multiple counts. The sheriff's office said seven of the individuals lived in Denton County, while the others lived nearby. Additionally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed immigration detainers on two of the people, who may be in the county illegally.

The University of North Texas confirmed to our partners at the Dallas Morning News that one of the men arrested was an administrative coordinator in the Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology. He was fired because of his arrest. 

The sherriff's offfice says another was a former Wise County Deputy. 

The operation was carried out by the Denton County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Denton Police Department, Denton County District Attorney's Office, Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, FBI, Fort Worth Police Department, Wylie Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Dallas Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff's Office and the Collin County District Attorney's Office.

Murphree says he hopes to have several operations like this one in the years to come, though he's not sure they'll ever put away everyone looking to prey on kids.

He says it's up to parents to know who their kids are talking to online. 

“This isn’t a stranger on the street you have to worry about snatching your kid. These people are already in your home. They’re in your kid's bedroom because they’re coming through these apps. They’re coming through social media. Parents have to know what their kids are doing on social media. They have to know who they’re talking to," said Murphree.

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