Bellingham, WA – The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has reported that 20 people have been booked into the Whatcom County Jail on charges that include attempted rape of a minor, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, and possession of child pornography.
Thanks to a multi-day operation run by law enforcement, county prosecutors, and victim advocate specialists, 20 sexual predators who targeted children in Whatcom County have been taken taken off of the streets. The operation is called “Net Nanny” and it was started by the Washington State Patrol in August of 2015. Since the original operation began, there have been nine additional operations within Washington State. The operation in its entirety has netted a total of 159 arrests and has rescued 22 child victims.
Law enforcement officers acting in an undercover capacity communicated (through various websites) with individuals interested in having sex with children. The operation generated hundreds of responses. The would-be perpetrators who were arrested in this operation had traveled to meet with undercover detectives posing as young girls and boys, with the intent to engage in sexual activity with them.
WSP Chief John R. Batiste stated: “Through the collaborative work of multiple agencies, we are actively taking sexual predators who target children off the streets and off the internet. This operation is protecting our vulnerable children and making communities safer.”
The names of the individuals arrested during the operation are:
- Aguilar, Aaron A., 26, Bellingham, WA
- Anderson, Jaime R., 33, Bellingham, WA
- Archer, Marc V., 60, Bellingham, WA
- Assink, Simson D., 23, Bellingham, WA
- Brown, Christopher M., 39, Bellingham, WA
- Chino -Acatitlan, Gilberto, 28, Bow, WA
- Fagin, Mark A., 43, Bellingham, WA
- Fissori, David L., 40, Bellingham, WA
- Garst, Mark E., 57, Deming, WA
- Hagens, Chadwin A., 34, Bellingham, WA
- Johnson, Steven W., 45, Yakima, WA
- Kinley, Aaron L., 26, Bellingham, WA
- Lawson, Dillon R., 20, Mt. Vernon, WA
- Lundberg, Jason J., 43, Ferndale, WA
- Ness, Tanner M., 21, Woodinville, WA
- Oritz, James D., 34, Everson, WA
- Rickle, George V., 66, Poulsbo, WA
- Severson, Mathew A., 51, Bellingham, WA
- Weinstein, Jeffrey A., 41, Bellingham, WA
- Welch, George M., 26, Bellingham, WA
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo commented: “The arrests stemming from Operation Net Nanny resulted in the capture of those seeking out very young and very vulnerable children for sexual exploitation and contact. Hopefully these arrests will cut short these predators as they search out victims and also serve as a deterrent to those with similar intentions and even save lives. This operation highlights the partnerships between the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together to keep our communities and children safe.”
The funding for this operation was made possible due in part to the support from the public as well as a generous donation from Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R). O.U.R. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) which shares the mission of law enforcement agencies to save children and see that child predators are arrested and prosecuted. O.U.R partners with law enforcement in this important cause to combat the sexual exploitation of children in our nation’s communities.