DECATUR, Ga. -- Eighteen men from Georgia and North Florida are facing charges related to a sting targeting online child predators, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released Monday.
The operation took months of planning, but the 18 arrests were made during a period beginning May 12. The suspects, who ranged in age from 19-58, traveled from areas around Brunswick and from North Florida to meet children for sex, according to police.
""Our goal is to arrest people who do this, who are out to harm children." Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Debbie Garner said at a news conference.
The suspects were charged with computer or electronic pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007. Additional charges may be forthcoming, according to the GBI.
MUG SHOTS: Operation Riptide
"Operation Riptide" was a collaborative effort coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC), the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the Glynn County Police Department.
The purpose of the operation was to arrest those who communicate with children online and then traveled to meet them for sexual activity or exploit them by purchasing sex with a minor.
"The children in our community need people to keep them safe," said Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering. "We will be their guardian angels. We will look out for them."
Garner says this operation should also serve as a warning to parents to monitor their kids online activities. "Know how to monitor (your kids) Snapchat account, Instagram account, Facebook account."
The US Secret Service arrested eight of the suspects. All of those polygraphed admitted to the crime they were arrested for, according to police. Some admitted to viewing porn and having previous sexual contact with children, the release said.
The following were arrested and charged in Glynn County as part of "Operation Riptide":
1. Kenneth Dwayne Baker, W/M, from Waynesville, GA, 24 years of age, occupation -HVAC worker
2. Christopher Oquendo Martinez, H/M, from Jacksonville, FL, 24 years of age, occupation - construction worker
3. Donald Ray Sheffield, W/M, from Jacksonville, FL, 58 years of age, occupation - truck driver
4. Sanjeev Hansraj Seenath, A/M, from Jacksonville, FL, 25 years of age, occupation - pharmacy student
5. Rigoberto Margarito Hernandez, H/M, from Brunswick, GA, 21 years of age, occupation - construction
6. Andrew Chase Lowe, W/M, 19 years of age, from St. Mary's, GA, occupation - landscaper
7. John Robert Schmidt, W/M, 36 years of age, from Jacksonville, FL, occupation - food & beverage manager
8. Samuel M. Lee, A/M, 26 years of age, from St. Mary's, GA, occupation - defense contractor
9. Michael Morrow Foley, W/M, 52 years of age, from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, occupation - driver
10. Ulbio Quijije, H/M, 26 years of age, from Kingsland, GA, occupation - self employed
11. Andrew Paul Stawniczy, W/M, 25 years of age, from Orange Park, FL, occupation - tire store employee
12. Bryant Keith Taylor, W/M, 35 years of age, from Brunswick, GA, occupation - truck driver
13. Armando Modesto-Sevilla, H/M, 22 years of age, from Waycross, GA, occupation - agricultural worker
14. Joshua Adam Bullard, W/M, 19 years of age, from Kings Bay, GA, occupation - US Navy
15. Aaron Wayne Jacobs, W/M, 27 years of age, Waynesville, GA, occupation – EMT/Fireman
16. Antwan Levar Polite, B/M, 26 years of age, Hinesville, GA, occupation – restaurant employee/student
17. Kevin Scott Kerr, W/M, 48 years of age, St. Paul, MN, occupation – commodities trader/news contributor
18. Troy Austin Piano, W/M, 23 years of age, Jacksonville, FL, occupation – self employed