Operation “Guardian Angels” went after adults trying to meet and have sex with what they thought were 14-year-old boys and 15-year-old girls.
For the last two months, News 9’s Reagan Ledbetter rode along with investigators at all times of the day and night, as investigators arrested suspects from Joplin, Missouri to Oklahoma City.
Investigators created fake social media profiles months ago, of 14-year-old boys and 15-year-old girls.
They arrested 11 men accused of trying to meet and have sex with those children.
Deputies said what people don’t realize is these suspects will do whatever and go wherever to meet children.
In one of the cases, deputies said the suspect drove from Joplin Missouri, rented a hotel room and messaged the girl, telling her he wanted to have sex with her.
But it didn’t stop there.
Just days later, the operation went to Oklahoma City.
“We have an arrest warrant that we are getting ready to execute on a violent predator down here in Oklahoma City,” said Lt. Kyle Baker with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office. “He’s been soliciting a 15-year-old female for sex and other disgusting things he would like to do to her.”
Investigators teamed up with Oklahoma City police to take down a foster dad, Craig Hooper, who they said told the fake profile he wanted to get her a bus ticket to come to Oklahoma City, so he could be her foster father and have sex with her.
Investigators said half of their arrests where men trying to meet boys.
They said two of the suspects showed up with loaded guns.
In another case, deputies said Johnny Rose planned to pick up who he thought was a 15-year-old girl for sex and to do drugs, but he tried to get away. They chased him and eventually arrested him on the highway.
“We already positively identified who he was, we were basically just waiting for him to show up,” said Sgt. Bo Williams with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office. “We’ve already got communications with him in regard to sexual stuff he was wanting to do with our undercover profile, so he’s bought and paid for.”
In the past, the suspects had to drive around looking for a child to kidnap. Now, they are in your own living room, on your kid’s phone and you have no idea, until it’s too late.
“They are predators and technology give them a vehicle to do this, most of the time of you look at the stats, untouched,” said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.
Law enforcement’s worst fear is they don’t get to a suspect before he actually assaults a real victim, but that’s a reality and that’s what led to the arrest of 18-year-old Wade Ennis. He’s accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, that was captured on video.
They said he admitted to that crime, as well as abusing other children, who were even younger.
“That’s the one we want to get,” said Sgt. John Haning with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office. “He had already touched or potentially touched three underage victims. As he was getting older, he was getting more brazen.”
Investigators said parents have to know what their kids are doing online, because the harsh reality is, for everyone they arrest, they have four more, trying to meet a child for sex.
They said 80% of all child predators, never get caught.