All 15 suspects were arrested “after arranging to meet up with undercover agents posing as juveniles online,” according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Those arrested include:
- Joshua Casillas, 48
- Michael Perry, 68
- Matthew Gallegos, 39
- Tyler Lovitt, 31
- Michael Rich, 41,
- Fernando Garcia, 26
- Kareem Hollins, 23
- Carlos Tobler, 24
- Mark Griffith, 36
- Daniel Gutierrez, 28
- Clarence Redic, 20
- James Huber, 48
- Dylan Hill, 24
- Nathan Urbauer, 38
- Bryan Aldana, 25
Police say the suspects were booked into Henderson Detention Center on various charges, including luring a minor with a computer to engage in sexual acts and soliciting a minor to engage in juvenile prostitution.
As this type of crime becomes more common with the widespread use of social media, reports of online child exploitation have reached a new record in the U.S.
In 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline received 29.3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation, an increase of 35% from 2020. This includes everything from grooming to luring, to child pornography and sex trafficking.
“Parents are reminded to discuss with their children the dangers of online chats with strangers,” LVMPD stated. “Children’s activity on social media and other online applications should be routinely monitored to prevent them from being victimized by a sex predator.”
Nevada Child Seekers, a non-profit organization that advocates for missing and exploited children, shared the following tips for parents:
- Monitor your children’s use of the internet and keep devices in an open, common room of the house.
- Check your child’s profiles and review what they’re posting online.
- Explain to your child that the images they put up could stay on the internet forever.
- Make sure your child knows they openly communicate if anyone asks them for something like a naked photo or starts talking to them inappropriately.
The operation was done as part of Metro police’s “ongoing effort to reduce violent crime and protect children in our community,” officials noted.
Police invited anyone who might have been a victim of any of the 15 suspects to contact the LVMPD Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at 702-828-3111. Anonymous tips can be made through Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.