Crime

26 Tri-City suspects nabbed in child sex sting still await trials

Four months after 26 men were arrested in the Tri-Cities in an online child sex sting, none of the cases have been resolved or gone to trial yet.
Four months after 26 men were arrested in the Tri-Cities in an online child sex sting, none of the cases have been resolved or gone to trial yet. Tri-City Herald

It has been four months since 26 men were arrested in the Tri-Cities in an online child sex sting, and nearly half of them have pushed their trial dates into next year.

While none of the cases have been resolved or gone to trial yet, one lawyer recently said their client is considering a guilty plea.

Another defendant was sent back to jail with higher bail after he was caught using a dating app in violation of a court order to stay off the internet.

And a third man skipped town one week after his arrest and now is wanted on a $500,000 nationwide warrant.

The “Net Nanny Operation” on July 5-9 was a multiagency effort to combat online child predators.

Undercover detectives answered postings on various websites and placed their own ads claiming to be kids as young as 11 or parents who were offering their children for sex.

The postings generated thousands of responses, but it was the would-be perpetrators who traveled to a Richland apartment or another predetermined location who were arrested. Some of the suspects allegedly showed up with condoms and sex toys.

Authorities said their fake postings were no different than the real advertisements that already are on the web.

The Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force has conducted nine stings across the state since August 2015. In total, 135 people have been arrested and 22 children — identified as potential victims of sex abuse crimes — have been rescued.

“The internet has become a hunting ground for sexual predators that are targeting our vulnerable children,” WSP Chief John R. Batiste said after a Net Nanny Operation earlier this month in Kitsap County. “This multiagency operation is taking dangerous individuals off the streets and making communities safer for families.”

A majority of the Tri-City cases involve attempted second-degree rape of a child charges. Several also include attempted first-degree child rape, commercial sex abuse of a minor or attempted distribution of methamphetamine to a person under 18.

The status of the cases are:

▪ Ali Almafoodh, 35, Kennewick — whereabouts unknown after leaving town July 14, taking a 2 1/2 -week trip to the Middle East and returning to Philadelphia.

▪ James C. Doty, 34, Richland — Dec. 16 trial. Bail raised Oct. 11 from $50,000 to $75,000 when authorities learned he contacted a woman through a dating app. Since released after posting higher bond.

▪ Ryan D. Harris, 33, Tri-Cities — March 5 trial. In jail with $25,000 bail.

▪ Douglas V. Arbogast, 70, Pasco — Jan. 22 trial. Out of custody on $10,000 bail.

▪ Marco A. Celis-Hernandez, 21, Richland — Dec. 11 trial. In jail with $25,000 bail.

▪ Andrew L. Sanders, 33, Pasco — Feb. 26 trial. Out on $10,000.

▪ John M. Scheline, 40, Pasco — Nov. 27 trial. Out on $10,000.

▪ Gabriel Saenz, 41, Kennewick — Jan. 11 trial. Out on $10,000.

▪ William J. Barrett, 48, Kennewick — Dec. 4 trial. In jail with $40,000 bail.

▪ Darren J. Kerbyson, 50, West Richland — Jan. 16 trial. Out on $10,000.

▪ Yasir M. Majeed, 35, Kennewick — March 12 trial. Out on $30,000.

▪ Gregory B. Taber, 65, Pasco — Dec. 4 trial. Out on $25,000.

▪ John N. Schouviller, 32, Pasco — Jan. 29 trial. Out on $25,000.

▪ Antonio C. Garcia, 21, Richland — Dec. 11 trial. Out on $10,000.

▪ Lucas F. Beach, 38, Pasco — Dec. 11 trial. Out on $25,000.

▪ Stephen C. Perez, 45, Pasco — Feb. 20 trial. Out on $25,000.

▪ Kyle R. Sickels, 25, Kennewick — Dec. 11 trial. Out on $25,000.

▪ Jesus G. Contreras Salgado, 29, Tieton — Feb. 12 trial. In jail with $25,000 bail.

▪ Dewayne L. Hetrick, 42, Kennewick — Jan. 22 trial. Out on $20,000.

▪ Thomas A. Swarers, 69, Kennewick — Jan. 22 trial. In jail with $40,000 bail.

▪ Jerome G. Williams, 24, Kennewick — Jan. 22 trial. In jail with $25,000 bail.

▪ James C. Escobedo, 20, Kennewick — Feb. 26 trial. Out on $25,000.

▪ Yuriy L. Gulchuk, 35, Kennewick — Dec. 11 trial. In jail with $25,000 bail.

▪ Jairo Lopez, 20, College Place — Feb. 12 trial. Out on $10,000.

▪ Aaron D. Hagerty, 43, Kennewick — Jan. 22 trial. Out on $25,000.

▪ Daniel A. Medina, 20, Pendleton — Jan. 29 trial. Out on $25,000.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531, @KristinMKraemer

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