Oklahoma Men Charged In Child Sexual Exploitation Investigation
TULSA, Oklahoma - Nine green country men have been federally indicted after a nationwide operation targeting suspected child sex predators.
The nine Oklahomans charged:
- Christopher Cervantes, 48, of Skiatook: Attempted coercion and enticement of a minor
- Thomas Dustin Daughtry, 42, of Sperry: Sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography, coercion and enticement.
- Carnell Lovette Matthews, 43, of Tulsa: Attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.
- Casey Adam Parker, 39, of Afton: Attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.
- Jason Ray Smith, 40, of Sapulpa: Attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.
- Carl Thomas Spaeth, 35, of Broken Arrow: Attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.
- Lucas Shane Vann, 18, of Salina: Sexual exploitation of a child.
- Corey Daniel Vessar, 30, of Skiatook: Attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.
- Thomas Kyle Williams, 40, of Sand Springs: Attempted coercion and enticement of a minor, receipt of child pornography, possession of child pornography.
Tulsa county prosecutors charged an additional 10 people.
The month long investigation called Operation Independence Day with state local and federal law enforcement partnering together resulted in recovery or Identification of more than 103 child victims across the United States, and about four in the Northern District of Oklahoma.
"This operation resulted in nine individuals being charged in United States District Court 10 others being prosecuted by the Tulsa County District Attorneys Office," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores.
The Department of Justice said nationally, the operation relied on 86 FBI-led Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces, which netted nearly 70 suspected sex traffickers and child exploiters here in the Northern District of Oklahoma which consists of 11 counties.
U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said the suspects used a wide range of tactics.
"These defendants used social media. They used the internet they used other means of electronic communication to reach out and engage with victims," said Shores.
Child sex abuse and trafficking can have a life-long effect on the victims and many may not even know what's happening until it's too late.
"Human trafficking is very hidden, it's underground, it's under-reported. Often times people who are being trafficked don't realize that there's a crime that's occurring," said Melissa Eick, co-founder of The Dragonfly Home.
Shores said it's essential that parents know who their kids are communicating with and what they are doing, as federal state and local law enforcement vows to keep fighting.
"Our message to those bad actors is, 'we are coming after you so get ready'," said First Assistant District Attorney Erik Grayless of the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office.
To report any type of child sexual abuse or child exploitation call 1-800-CALL-FBI, visit their website, or your local Police Department.