11 men, including elementary school assistant principal, arrested in online child sex sting

11 men were arrested in a joint operation between LVMPD and the FBI [Image credit: LVMPD]

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Between December 8 and 9, 2020 the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force partnered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct an online sting named Operation Protect Our Children targeting child sexual predators.  A press release issued on December 11 announced the arrest of 11 men as a result.

 

An officer posed as a 13-year-old girl online and once individuals made contact seeking sex, they were given a location at which to meet.

 

Officers arrested 46-year-old Christopher Damron, 42-year-old Anthony Huth, 35-year-old Alejandro Aranda, 27-year-old Nicholas Lara, 55-year-old Miguel Amezquita, 45-year-old Jonathan Tavares, 40-year-old Samuel Privado-Martinez, 45-year-old Armand Grays, 36-year-old Kun Yoo, 39-year-old Shawn Matthews and 29-year-old Tyler Yost.

 

Pictured top left, Yost is an assistant principle at Herbert A. Derfelt Elementary School who was hired in 2015.  The principle, Gina Howard issued a statement to parents after his arrest.

 

"The safety of our students is the number one priority at Derfelt Elementary School. ...We would like to inform you that an employee assigned to our school has been arrested today for luring a child for sex.  The employee is currently assigned to home, as of today, per the negotiated agreement with their bargaining unit."  She assured parents that the school was cooperating fully with the investigation.

 

The only other arrest information provided to the public was concerning the arrest of Damron.  According to the arrest report, he had traveled from Oxnard, California and not only made contact with an officer online posing as a 13-year-old girl, but also made contact with another officer that had posted an ad online, posing as a 15-year-old, unrelated to Operation Save Our Children.

 

The Review-Journal indicated that he had contacted the second officer saying that he had lost money at a casino and so was "a little grumpy and trying to get happy."  Police said that "during the text messages, it was disclosed to Damron that the decoy was 15-years-old," but he still agreed to meet the girl and pay $200 for sex acts.

 

The men arrested are facing charges including luring a child to engage in sexual conduct, soliciting a child for prostitution, attempted sexual assault against a child under 14, and luring a child with the use of computer technology to engage in sexual conduct.

 

In issuing their press release, officers took the opportunity to "remind parents to discuss with their children the dangers of inline chats with strangers.  Parents are encouraged to routinely monitor their children's activity on social media and other online application to prevent them from becoming victims of a child sex predator."

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