Local online sexual predators arrested

LEXINGTON – More than a dozen law enforcement agencies have worked together on a month-long operation targeting adults accused of contacting children online for sexual activity.

Seventeen men have been arrested as part of the operation. Another man is wanted on charges stemming from messages exchanged with law enforcement officers posing as minors on social media apps.

Among those arrested and charged are a man from Winnsboro and a man from Blythewood.

Willie Manning, 57, of Winnsboro was charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor

Misael Quezada, 31, of Blythewood – criminal solicitation of a minor

Willie Manning, 57, of Winnsboro was charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor

Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “Officers pretended to be underage teenagers as the suspects messaged them through apps. Some even had phone conversations with officers,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “After the suspect asked to meet with ‘the child,’ detectives were staged at a predetermined meeting spot to arrest them.”

Most of the messages featured sexually explicit language and images, according to Koon.

“The intent of these suspects during these communications is clear,” Koon said. “They were trying to persuade, entice or coerce someone they reasonably believed to be under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity.”

No children were ever used or placed in danger during the operation, according to Koon.

“This operation is the result of strong relationships among law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels.” Koon said. “I’d like to thank Attorney General Alan Wilson for making members of his office available for this operation as part of his continued commitment to local law enforcement.”

As members of the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Secret Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Cayce Department of Public Safety, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Aiken Department of Public Safety also participated in the operation, according to Koon.

Koon said more arrests are expected as investigators pursue charges against other suspects identified during the operation.

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