Tulare County Sheriff sends strong message to child predators after undercover operation

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In Operation Baby Face, an undercover deputy posed as a 16-year-old girl online and seven people messaged the decoy. (KFSN)

The Tulare County Sheriff sent a strong message Monday to sexual predators who are targeting children.

This message came after seven people were arrested over the weekend in an undercover operation.

In Operation Baby Face, an undercover deputy posed as a 16-year-old girl online. It was through that investigation they learned of other sexual predators operating separately from the human trafficking ring and this time they set up a trap and it was all caught on camera.

"We set up at an undercover home," Tulare county Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said. "We spoke with the perpetrator online via social media and they agreed to meet at this location knowing part of which was, her guardians were out of town."

Their faces of the men were plastered on a board for all to see but authorities said their conversations before meeting up were mostly on Facebook.

"The material is very explicit," Boudreaux said. "Agreeing to meet with her to have sex, knowing that she was a 16-year-old juvenile."

The sheriff said some of them even showed up with alcohol and condoms.

"I asked, 'How long did it take for these predators to begin talking about sexual exploitation to get with you to have sex?" Boudreaux said. "She said within seconds."

That's why he's hoping this announcement, their pictures and a video will help get the word out to anyone out there plotting to do the same, for a crime that could leave someone in jail for up to nine years.

"We're coming to get you," Boudreaux said. "I want to repeat that message to those of you who are sexually exploiting our children, attempting to meet with our children for sex, if you are doing anything to harm our children, we at the sheriff's office. We are coming for you."

As for potential victims and their families Boudreaux said that, "I need you to ask the very difficult questions. Who are you talking to? Let me see the pictures online. Let me take a look at your social media."

"I want to say to our children, please choose wisely. Be aware that there are predators out there seeking to be your friends to exploit you sexually."

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