9 arrested in undercover Athens child sex operation

Law enforcement agents working with the FBI have charged nine people in Athens who they say came to the area with "the intent to meet a child for sex.”

Operation End Game took place over a three-day period starting on Thursday, July 25 and was an undercover operation through the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, and the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney’s Office.

During the three-day operation, investigators say they had more than 200 exchanges with subjects on multiple social media platforms in which the subject initiated contact with someone they thought was a minor and turned the conversation in a sexual direction . In some cases, suspects were communicating at the same time with multiple investigators posing as different minors, police said.

In some cases, police say the suspects exposed the minor to pornography or asked the child to take nude or pornographic photos.

Twenty-five cases met the threshold for arrest, with nine of the cases ending in an arrest. All nine have been charged with the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007.

The arrestees range in age from 19 to 53 years old. Police say one person arrested was a convicted murderer. Another was arrested in possession of multiple firearms and a machete.

"Thanks to this coordinated three-day effort, multiple predators have been removed from our streets and are no longer free to victimize our children,” Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill said.

These are the nine people arrested and charged as part of Operation End Game: