Police crackdown takes sex offenders off streets

July 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators say the city of Fresno has an alarming number of sex offenders who have committed crimes against children.

But a month-long crackdown has taken a number of those suspects off the street.

Many of those arrested in this operation are still in jail. Detectives say in Fresno say there are 1,700 sex offenders on the streets at any given time. That is only the offenders police are keeping tabs on. Behind a computer screen, monitoring IP addresses who collect or distribute child porn is how investigators were led to this house in Northwest Fresno.

It is also the place a registered sex offender named Derek Garcia was living with his family. Neighbors say Garcia was often outside detailing his car, right across the street from Lions Park and Near Slater Elementary.

"I never wanted to associate with him because I seen him on Megan's list," said Garcia's neighbor Louis Garibay.

Next door neighbor Louis Garibay kept his distance after discovering Garcia was a sex offender for raping a 14-year-old drugged victim in 1997.

Detective Dustin Bruzee says the minute officers showed up armed with a warrant, Garcia tried to hide more evidence, by tossing his laptop over the fence into his neighbors backyard.

"We found their were at least 5 individuals, young females that had been secretly recorded or photographed without their knowledge during their time at Derek's house," said Dustin Bruzee from the Fresno Police Department.

Garcia's arrest was one of nine locally, intended to target those who are taking advantage of children for sexual gratification. Every day Fresno police say four investigators follow leads and build cases against internet predators.

A list of 36 sex offenders shows the most wanted for either committing new sex crimes, failing to register or violating parole or probation.

You may be surprised to find out since Garcia was not on probation or parole, he was not violating any laws by living right by a place children frequent and play.

"He was legal to live there, he was current on his registration and as far as we knew he was flying under the radar," said Bruzee.

Derek Garcia is still in custody but is eligible to bail out.


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