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Garrard Police Arrest 4 In Sex Sting Operation - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Garrard Police Arrest 4 In Sex Sting Operation

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Garrard Police Department Garrard Police Department

GARRARD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)-- The police department recently concluded an undercover operation focused on apprehending men using the internet to prey on children for sexual purposes.

Using popular social media websites, an officer represented himself as a 15-year-old female who was interested in meeting an older man for sex. In each case, after exchanging private online messages and text messages, a meeting was scheduled at which time the suspect was apprehended by members of the Garrard County and Lancaster Police Departments.

"We all know that drugs are an epidemic in our community as well as our nation. Under all that is a dark, shadow world that can be just as destructive as drugs. Sex abuse, rape and molestation occurs in our world everyday. This department is trying to protect the young generation of our community by stopping these actions before they take place and ultimately prevent a case on a child that has been permanently scarred because of a sex predator. No child should have to feel unsafe in their hometown. Whether it’s drug offenses, sex offenses or other criminal offenses the ultimate goal is to provide a safe community for our citizens and for the kids to grow up in and that's why I got into law enforcement to begin with. I appreciate Chief Graham, Judge Wilson and the Fiscal Court getting behind this sting and giving us the tools to make a difference" said lead Officer Josh Gibson

Throughout the investigation, police arrested Juan Tlazalo, Tracy Wolfinbarger, Darrel Cox and Micah Lester. All are facing charges of unlawful transaction with a minor, sex act under 16 years of age, and prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure minor/peace officer. 

"As the father of two school aged daughters, I'm particularly proud of Officer Gibson's efforts to keep our children safe. We know it's a dangerous world out there, but I hope pedophiles will think twice about coming to Garrard County in the future knowing that our law enforcement are running these types of operations here. Limited funding would have made undercover programs like this impossible just a year ago, so I appreciate that the fiscal court has made the resources available to law enforcement to be proactive and make a difference before we have a victim" said Judge Executive John Wilson.

"Much of my career in law enforcement has been spent responding to calls for help after something terrible has happened, so it's especially rewarding to know our work has made a difference to someone's little girl before she was abused. One of these apprehended indicated he worked around youth, and another had a Bible and Santa outfit in his car, leading me to believe he's around children. In many instances here the messages exchanged shock the conscience and make me sick. I look at the innocence of my own granddaughter and given the successes we had here, anticipate more of these types of operations in the future. In the meantime, I encourage parents to be monitoring the online activity of their children" Garrard Police Chief Tevis Graham said.

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