NORMAN — The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies arrested six suspects last week during an undercover child sexual predator operation.
The six men were arrested over a period of two days starting on Dec. 10, and two of the suspects, Krishna Skanes and Leocadio Picon, have each been charged with one felony count of soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology.
The felony carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, the suspects were arrested during Operation Traveler 4, an undercover operation launched by CCSO deputies and other law enforcement agencies. The operation focused on finding suspects willing to engage in sexual acts with underage children.
As part of the operation, officers created fake accounts on social media platforms posing as underaged teenagers, according to a CCSO press release. The six suspects initiated contact with the undercover officers, believing the undercover officers to be children under the age of 16.
CCSO Capt. Steve Lowe said the suspects were not previously persons of interest, and became suspects after initiating contact with the fake accounts.
“We don’t go out and contact people,” Lowe told The Transcript. “They initiated contact with us.”
According to court affidavits, the officers facilitated discussions with the suspects, and the conversations eventually became sexual in nature. The suspects eventually agreed to in-person meetups to engage in sexual activity.
Once the suspects arrived at the location of the meetup, they were arrested by law enforcement. The six suspects’ ages ranged from 19 to 46. Skanes and Picon were both arrested in Moore.
According to a CCSO press release, the operation was a joint effort with investigators from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Cleveland County District Attorney’s Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Moore Police Department and the Absentee Shawnee Tribal Police.
“The allegations against those arrested during this operation are very serious,” David Westall, assistant special agent for Homeland Security Investigations, said in a press release. “We will continue collaborating with our law enforcement partners, schools, and NGOs across the state to arrest those who stalk underage victims for sexual gratification.”