Nearly two dozen people – including a local jailer, a funeral home director and an extra in the TV show Glee – have been arrested in Richmond County for trying to meet a child for sex of the last four days.
It was called “Operation Mayday” and the undercover operation lured online users to the Augusta area from all over the region. The suspects thought they were meeting underage children for sex, according to a press release. Instead, they were caught in a months-long investigation by GBI agents and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Everyone arrested was charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation. More charges are possible.
The arrestees, ranging in age from 19 to 52, traveled from areas around Augusta and from South Carolina with the intent to meet a child for sex. Some of their occupations included actor, funeral home director, tire salesman, electrician, software programmer, correctional officer, pharmacy tech, student and Deputy Jailer.
The purpose of “Operation Mayday” was to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex. On-line child predators visit chat rooms and websites on the internet, find children, begin conversations with them, introduce sexual content and arrange a meeting with the children for the purpose of having sex. The children these predators target are both boys and girls. In addition, the operation targeted those that are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex with a minor, and the recruitment of victims of child sex trafficking. The proactive on-line investigation was a coordinated effort among all the law enforcement agencies to combat this activity.
The suspects (pictured here in alphabetical order of last name, left to right) are listed below.
1 (Top row, from left) Nicholas Sebastian Barber, from Martinez, GA, 23 years of age, occupation = pool attendant
2 Cody Allen Bondurant, from Martinez, GA, 23 years of age, occupation = actor
3 John Kenneth Crowley, from Augusta, GA, 30 years of age, occupation = unemployed
4 Travis Demond Driggers, from Louisville, GA, 34 years of age, occupation = correctional officer
5 Reginald Martinez Grubbs, from Waynesboro, GA, 40 years age, occupation = truck driver
6 Leon Cornelius Holley, from Grovetown, GA, 20 years of age, occupation = retail stocker
7 (Second row) Nicholas Michael Hopkins, from Evans, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = landscaper
8 Tyler Alexander Judkins, from Evans, GA, 19 years of age, occupation = student
9 Paul Ellis Kitchens, from Augusta, GA 44 years of age, occupation = funeral home director
10 Everett Ryan Lewis, from Baxley, GA, 21 years of age, occupation = laborer
11 Thomas Michael Moxley, Jr., from Aiken, SC, 43 years of age, occupation = tire store employee
12 Heather Elyssa Myers, from Fort Gordon, GA, 19 years of age, occupation = soldier
13 (Third row) Kyle Andrew Negus, from Augusta, GA, 26 years of age, occupation = software programmer
14 Cody Justin Pobanc, from Augusta, GA, 27 years of age, occupation = crane tech
15 Ruben Ellis Reese, from Martinez, GA, 52 years of age, occupation = Deputy Jailer
16 Jordan Blake Roberts, from Grovetown, GA, 21 years of age, occupation = Airman
17 Matthew Kyle Sears, from Augusta, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = tire store employee
18 Ian B. Selby, from Martinez, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = university student
19 (Bottom row) Christopher Anthony Titre, from Martinez, GA, 22 years of age, occupation = grocery store employee
20 Matthew Robert Tyndall, from Augusta, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = restaurant manager
21 Richard Dean Tyndall, from Evans, GA, 24 years of age, occupation = electrician
22 Jordan Andrew Waters, from Beech Island, SC, 22 years of age, occupation = pharmacy tech
Six (6) of those arrested also admitted to previous sexual contact with children, authorities said. One offender arrived with two firearms in his vehicle. Additionally, multiple phones and digital devices were seized. Those devices will be processed and analyzed and additional charges may be filed after reviewing the results of that analysis.
From the press release: “The Georgia ICAC Task Force is comprised of 200+ local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices. The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the U. S. Department of Justice and managed and operated by the GBI in Georgia, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The ICAC Program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. By helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the ICAC program delivers national resources at the local level.”
The Georgia ICAC Task Force made 185 arrests in 2014 and has made over 1,300 arrests since its inception in 2002. The Georgia ICAC Task Force website is www.familyinternet.info and the GBI website is http://gbi.georgia.gov/.
Along with the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC), the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC) and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, sixteen (16) additional law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices participated in “Operation Mayday” as members of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.