A dozen law enforcement agencies arrested 19 men last month as part of a joint investigation into allegations of child exploitation, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.
The investigation, known as "Operation Athena," occurred between July 8 and July 12. Led by the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, officials investigated people who used the internet for child trafficking and child pornography, according to the sheriff's department.
Of the 19 men arrested, three were charged with online solicitation of a minor and the rest were charged with possession of child pornography, officials said.
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"The protection of our children continues to be one of my top priorities" said Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner. "This type of operation wouldn't be possible without the cooperation that exists among all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in North Texas and the investigators who work tirelessly to root out this evil."
Investigators also confiscated numerous electronic devices that will likely lead to additional arrests, officials said.
Arrested in the sweep and charged with possession of child porn were: Fredrick Dufour, Travis Carnes, Ronnie Lorenz, Derald Hamlett, Jose Guarjardo, Robert Dickens, Michael Welborn, Sean Bartlett, Adam McKinney, Andrew Pfahler, William Johnson, Dennis McCarthy, Jason Stuart, Anas Alhesan, Douglas Barron and a juvenile. Arrested and charged with online soliciation of a minor were: Harold Henson, Ryan Birkland and Johnathan Nestick.
The Collin County Sheriff's Department worked with the following agencies on the investigations: Wylie Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Homeland Security Investigations, Collin County Child Protective Investigations, Carrollton Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Farmers Branch Police Department, Frisco Police Department, Grapevine Police Department, Child Advocacy Center of Collin County, and Collin County District Attorney’s Office.