Multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies contributed to an undercover operation that resulted in 15 recent arrests on child endangerment-related charges.
Montgomery Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service took part in the operation.
Wesley Richardson, assistant chief deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, said during a press conference on Monday the arrests were the result of an undercover sex trafficking operation in Montgomery County last week.
"The purpose of the operation was to investigate, identify, and arrest individuals that prey on children in our community," Richardson said. "The suspects in this case targeted and solicited individuals online through chat rooms, social media, and other sites and they agreed to pay to engage in sexual acts with individuals that they believed to be children. Furthermore, these suspects then traveled to designated locations to engage in these unlawful sexual acts. Fortunately, they were intercepted and arrested by law enforcement, and they no longer pose a threat to the community. This operation was the result of months of preparation and planning among our law enforcement partner,s and the results show the strong commitments and partnerships we all have to ensure public safety and to protect those who are most vulnerable in our community. "
All 15 suspects are charged with attempted human trafficking, electronic solicitation of a child and traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act. Ten of the suspects are currently being held at the Montgomery County Detention Facility, and five have been released on bond, according to Richardson.
"To the parents watching today, please review and monitor what your children are doing online and who they are talking to. You would not leave your front door wide open for anyone to walk through. Your child's phone, if unmonitored, is an open door to their life," Richardson said.
Dante Gordon of the U.S. Marshals Service said at the press conference that the U.S. Marshals Service and the Covenant Rescue Group helped plan a sting operation with local agencies that targeted individuals who were seeking to exploit juvenile females in the Montgomery area. Covenant Rescue Group also provided training to partner agencies before the operation that included instruction on how to plan and execute operations targeting people who look to exploit juveniles, according to Gordon.
"This training helped make our operation very successful," Gordon said. "This operation has surpassed all expectations and proved to be a vital part of combatting sex trafficking in Montgomery, Alabama."
Covenant Rescue Group (CRG) is a 501c3 organization and founded in June 2019 by former U.S. Navy SEAL Jared Hudson and his wife.
According to WSFA, the 15 individuals charged are as follows:
Leon Johnson, 50
Malik Hazama, 36
Key Darine Dashun Coley, 28
Jesus Alejandro Lopez-Vicente, 32
Jalen Miller, 22
Anthony Allen, 22
Jordan Addison Dukes, 30
James Earl Ellis, III 28
Robert Anthony Lusco Jr. 56
Quentin Lamar Jones, 26
Johnny Lee Timmons, 29
Flanzy Lee Harris, 43
Al'Shon Tupactre Latrell Walker, 21
Jarvis Frost, 25
Charity Devontay Wright, 24
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