VALDOSTA, Ga. (WSAV) – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) arrested 14 people, including a university dean, in a sting operation targeting child predators and child traffickers.
The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force coordinated with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC), the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, and the Southern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office during the investigation.
The GBI says “Operation Broken Arrow” was a four day effort based in Valdosta. The 14 people arrested ranged in age from 24-57 and traveled around south Georgia intending to meet children for sex. GBI says those arrested believed they were going to meet a child and instead were met by agents and arrested.
The criminal history among the 14 people arrested is lengthy. One person was previously arrested on peeping tom charges. Two people were previously arrested on firearm and drug charges. Two others were previously investigated for sex-related crimes.
GBI says that over the course of the operation, investigators had more than 120 exchanges on social media and other websites. During many of these, the agent was believed to be a minor. GBI says the subject would often introduce obscene content, send pornography to the minor or ask the child to send them nude photos.
The following people were arrested and charged in “Operation Broken Arrow”
- Dave Vincent Almon, 43, retail manager
- Billy Stephen Carter, 57, truck driver
- Eric Bernard Copeland, press operator
- Walter Lee Curry, 33, laborer
- Jamian Hogan, 34, retail associate
- John Henry Hursey, 45, carpenter
- Eugene Andega Mainah, 35, unemployed
- Keith Morrison, 43, truck driver
- Wyman Rene Phillips, 36, electrician
- Wilford Sermons, 28, customer service representative
- Josue Trejo, 31, forklift driver
- Bronson Jamari D. Tripp, 24, retail associate
- Keith Walters, 44, university Dean
- Justin Na’eem Warren, 24, student
Keith Andrew Walters is among the 14 arrested and is the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Valdosta State University. The university said in a statement that Walters has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.
The GBI says that some websites investigated during this operation claim to be “adults-only”, but says it is not uncommon for children to be on them. Child predators use these sights and specifically seek out minors using a fake profile as potential victims for sexual contact.
The following agencies also assisted in “Operation Broken Arrow” as members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force.
- Alpharetta Police Department
- Atlanta Police Department
- Floyd County Police Department
- Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office
- GBI-Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC)
- Glynn County Police Department
- Gwinnett County Police Department
- Hall County Sheriff’s Office
- Homeland Security Investigations
- Johns Creek Police Department
- Lilburn Police Department
- Marietta Police Department
- Polk County Police Department
- Savannah Police Department
- United States Air Force – Office of Special Investigations
- Woodstock Police Department