FRANKLIN, Ind. — The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office announced ten people were arrested as part of its “Operation Firewall” child solicitation investigation.
During a live press conference in Franklin Friday morning, Sheriff Duane Burgess said nine of those arrests were for child solicitation.
Investigators said they worked with Covenant Rescue Group, an anti-trafficking organization, to create a false online profile of an underage female.
The decoy profile then chatted with people online to discuss meeting in person.
All nine of the people arrested allegedly showed up to an agreed upon location to meet what they thought was an underage female.
“It just simply turned my stomach that individuals knowing it was an underage person showed up to meet them for a sexual fantasy,” said Johnson County sheriff Duane Burgess.
The sheriff claims the nine suspect came from Indianapolis, Avon, Morristown, Kirklin and Frankfort. All but one traveled from outside of Greenwood.
“I mean some of them drove more than an hour, sometimes many miles to try and see a fantasy through,” said Burgess. “This is unacceptable and we don’t want it anywhere, but we’ve to protect our children.”
“We had a chance briefly this week to take a peek behind the curtain of a whole other world and it is dark and depraved and it’s here and that’s what we’re trying to fight,” said Johnson County prosecutor Joe Villanueva.
The sheriff plans to conduct similar busts in the future and hopes the case serves as a safety lesson to parents.
“The bottom line is parents watch your kids. Know what they’re doing. These people do exist in your community and they will hurt your children,” said Burgess.
In addition to the nine men arrested for child solicitation, one woman was arrested for drug possession charges.