Marietta police announced Thursday that 15 men had been arrested in an online child predator sting that had been running since October.
Of the 15 men arrested, three were from Cobb County and eight were from elsewhere in Georgia, according to a Marietta police news release. Two were from South Carolina, one from Alabama and one from Oregon.
The operation was part of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s “Operation Spring Cleaning” initiative, which aims to crack down on underage online sex crimes.
Marietta cops also said they assisted with the five-day sting in Gwinnett County from April that netted 23 arrests.
In that operation, Gwinnett Det. David Smith explained that the men posted as 13- and 14-year-old children “looking for a good time” on dating websites and sites like Backpage.com, a website law enforcement says has been used for prostitution and human trafficking.
When asked about details of its separate investigation, Marietta police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy declined saying he couldn’t “discuss any of the tactics used as it could jeopardize other investigations other agencies may be doing on their own.”
All 15 men face a computer pornography charge that accuses them of handling, buying or selling material involving a child.
Those men are:
- Terry Crawford, 58, Pine Mountain
- Johnny Crittenden, 57, Jonesboro
- Jose Barrera, 20, Kennesaw
- Justin Jones, 42, Marietta
- Nikolas Sims, 23, Conyers
- Stephen Cook, 59, Grayson
- James Lumpkin, 46, Marietta
- Christopher Braden, 38, Jasper, Alabama
- Noe Verdugo, 36, Atlanta
- James Conner, 45, Monroe
- Thornton Barrow, 54, Central, South Carolina
- David Butterworth, 40, Flowery Branch
- Justin Clark, 31, Hines, Oregon
- Mitchell Walters, 28, Cumming
- Keith Grogan, 44, Graycourt, South Carolina
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