AG: 9 arrested in child predator roundup
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's attorney general announced nine arrests today as part of an undercover operation investigating child predators across southern Louisiana.
AG Buddy Caldwell said the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made the arrests with the help of state, local, and federal authorities.
"Louisiana's ICAC Task Force is committed to working tirelessly to pursue those who exploit and victimize our children through the Internet," said Attorney General Caldwell. "This latest roundup is just another example of the Task Force's outstanding efforts in the fight against child predators."
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson, said the search for people who prey on children is so important.
"They don't want to just see those pictures, they don't want to just see the things that are happening to them, they want to hear the noise that they're making, the noise that these little kids are making when they're being sexually abused," said Col. Edmonson.
"We did save individuals that were victims of child pornography, the people we arrested were actually manufacturing, so they were abusing the children, as well as video taping their abuse," said David Ferris, Section Chief for the Attorney General's High Tech Crime Unit.
Those arrested and their charges include:
John Andrew Becnel, 22, of Gonzales - 20 counts of pornography involving juveniles
Michael Wesley, 57, of Plaquemines - 11 counts of pornography involving juveniles
Bradley Bourque, 32, of Baton Rouge - 25 counts of pornography involving juveniles
Jude Stelly, 29, of St. Martinville - 10 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles; 10 counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles
Tony J. Latiolais, 46, of Breaux Bridge - indecent behavior with a juvenile, computer-aided solicitation of a minor
Joshua Villa, 33, of Broussard - aggravated incest, 20 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles, 9 counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles, 5 counts of producing pornography involving juveniles
Chad Sonnier, 32, of Church Point - pornography involving juveniles
Lucas Wimberly, 27, of Lake Charles - 10 counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles, 5 counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles
Robert Hawes, 58, of Sulphur - 16 counts of pornography involving juveniles
The AG's Office said more arrests are possible as the investigations continue.
To report suspected cases of child exploitation, contact the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-256-4506.