MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Six suspected child predators are behind bars in West Texas after an undercover sting operation on the Internet.
The men arrested thought they were talking to young girls on social media. They had plans to engage in sexual activity with them. When they arrived at their meeting spot, they were instead greeted by law enforcement officers with handcuffs.
"Almost all confessed that that was their desire to have some sort of sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl," said Midland District Attorney, Teresa Clingman.
On July 16 and 17, Charlie Archuleta, Michael Gonzales and Jason Warden of Odessa, John Brock of Andrews, Jay Brown of Midland and Johnny Sawatsky of Seminole were arrested on state charges of online solicitation of a minor.
"The sexual exploitation of a child is a deplorable crime. It's a threat to the safety of our community. DPS is committed to pursuing the deplorable criminals who target vulnerable children as their victims," said Carey Matthews, Regional Commander of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
DPS, the Midland County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's office and the Department of Homeland Security collaborated in this undercover operation.
This time, one more entity played a crucial role in it's success. The Midland Fire Department's first ever tactical medical team.
"This is by far the first major operation that we've been on," said Captain Jayme Farmer of the Training and Special Operations Division of the Midland Fire Department.
They are stationed close by when the arrests are made; On stand by should anything happen.
"In case someone were to get hurt, shot, stabbed or injured, whether it's a law enforcement officer or a suspect, we're there to render aid a lot sooner than a regular Midland Fire Department ambulance could respond and get there and render aid," said Farmer.
The quicker response could save lives. They say this idea to form the team was months in the works but one incident helped raise awareness on the risks these agencies take each day.