26 arrested in Tri-Cities child sex sting operation

26 arrested in Tri-Cities child sex sting operation
26 arrested in Tri-Cities child sex sting operation

Twenty-six men between the ages of 20 and 75 were arrested during a multi-day child sex sting operation in the Tri-Cities.

The operation involved multiple agencies led by Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force, which targets individuals attempting to sexually assault children.

Law enforcement officers went undercover to communicate with would-be perpetrators through various websites. They received hundreds of responses, according to a news release.

The 26 people arrested had traveled to meet with officers posing as young boys and girls. Five more have been identified as having access to children at risk of being abused.

Law enforcement will follow up by identifying at-risk children and try to give them the appropriate assistance for any abuse they may have been exposed to.

“Children are becoming increasingly vulnerable to sexual predators due to the growth of the internet,” WSP Chief John Batiste said.

This is the eighth “Net Nanny” child sex sting operation conducted by WSP’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force and the regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force since 2015.

The Net Nanny operations have netted a total of 115 arrests and rescued at least 21 victims throughout the state.

Crimes investigated include attempted child rape, distribution of persons under the age of 18, commercial sex abuse of a minor, possession of sexually explicit images of a minor, dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexual conduct and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

These are the people arrested during the operation:

Ryan D. Harris, 32, Pendleton, Ore.
Douglas Arbogast, 70, Pasco, Wash.
Marco A. Celis-Hernandez, 21, Richland, Wash.
Andrew L. Sanders, 33, Pasco, Wash.
John M. Sheline, 40, Pasco, Wash.
Gabriel Saenz, 41, Kennewick, Wash.
William J. Barrett, 47, Kennewick, Wash.
Darren J. Kerbyson, 50, West Richland, Wash.
James C. Doty, 34, Richland, Wash.
Yasir M. Majeed, 35, Kennewick, Wash.
Gregory B. Taber, 75, Pasco, Wash.
John N. Schouviller, 31, Pasco, Wash.
Antonio C. Garcia, 21, Richland, Wash.
Lucas F. Beach, 38, Pasco, Wash.
Stephen C. Perez, 45, Pasco, Wash.
Ali Al Mahfood, 35, Kennewick, Wash.
Kyle R. Sickels, 25, Kennewick, Wash.
Jesus G. Contreras Salgado, 29, Tieton, Wash.
Dewayne L. Hetrick, 42, Kennewick, Wash.
Thomas A. Swarers, 69, Kennewick, Wash.
Jerome G. Williams, 24, Kennewick, Wash.
James C. Escobeda, 20, Kennewick, Wash.
Yuriy L. Gulchuck, 35, Kennewick, Wash.
Jairo Lopez, 20, Yakima, Wash.
Aaron D. Hagerty, 42, Kennewick, Wash.
Daniel A. Medina, 20, Pendleton, Ore.

The Richland Police Department will be hosting a free class for the community to learn about cell phone applications commonly used by children and teens.

The class will be at WSU Tri-Cities on Wednesday, July 19 at 6 p.m.

The Kennewick Police Department will also be hosting a class on Thursday, July 20 at the Kennewick Police Department Training Room at 6:30 p.m.